I heard Paul Beatty talking about his novel The Sellout on Radio National’s Books and Arts . It’s an insightful interview by Sky Kirkham.
The Australian Independent Bookseller had this to say about the novel that won this year’s Man Booker:
A biting American satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.
Born in the ‘agrarian ghetto’ of Dickens – on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles – the narrator of The Sellout is raised by his single father, a controversial sociologist, and spends his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. Led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes, he is shocked to discover, after his father is killed in a police shoot-out, that there never was a memoir. In fact, all that’s left is the bill for a drive-through funeral.
Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: his hometown Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident – Hominy Jenkins – he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school.
What follows is a remarkable journey that challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement and the holy grail of racial equality – the black Chinese restaurant.
It’s on my reading list now. And I can’t resist Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk either.
What with Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things and Lucy Treloar’s Salt Creek, it’s an exciting year for writing!
What new writing have you loved this year? Have you read any of the 2016 Man Booker Shortlist? What did you think of the choice?