‘The Sellout’ by Paul Beatty

The Sellout book coverPaul Beatty’s hilariously funny, satirical novel The Sellout [London: Oneworld, 2016] has just won this year’s Man Booker Prize.   The point of good satire is that it not only pokes absurd fun at its subject but by illuminating it from a completely different angle makes us review and revise our own ideas. Imagine a present-day black farmer in a district of Los Angeles who, unintended, becomes a slave owner but whose slave does little or no work. The farmer then sees the merits of reintroducing racial segregation. He creates a hoarding advertising a non-existent high quality private school on land opposite the low-achieving essentially non-white public school with the effect that that school rises to the looming challenge and becomes so good that white kids try to gain admission and are turned away! Paul Beatty has written a work of contemporary fiction that reveals greater truths and which stands comparison with Tristram Shandy and Animal Farm. Read more ...