Man Booker Winner 2016


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?

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9 Responses to Man Booker Winner 2016

  1. Sigrun says:

    I’m reading “Hot Milk” right now – and like it a lot, it’s surreal & funny but also strangely true to life. I have read Madeleine Thien’s: “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” which is, compared with Levy, something very different; a very bookish book; complex, rich in historic details and personal fate & destiny. And I will read “The Sellout”, definitively!


    • You’re way ahead of me with this year’s reading. After reading your comments on ‘Hot Milk’ I think I might start with that. It sounds like the kind of book I enjoy most. Thanks for your comments, Sigrun.

  2. Don Cohen says:

    Have ordered The Sellout and Eileen which also looks very interesting.

  3. I haven’t read any of this year’s, but I did read Life of Pi recently, which was a surreal experience! An incredible tale (one I kept thinking was real!) but it also contained some truly wonderful turns of phrase and imagery. I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending, but it was certainly a book I won’t forget.

    • Life of Pi is surreal, isn’t it! It was beautifully written but I’m not sure if I enjoyed the read. I read it ages ago and I have forgotten everything but how strange it made me feel, so that’s saying something about it’s staying power!

      • I think I agree with that statement “beautifully written but not sure I enjoyed the read”. I did scan-read a few of the more ‘grisly’ paragraphs, too. One of a kind, though!

      • That’s an interesting concept… That you don’t remember the contents but you remember how it made you feel. I wonder why some books do that?

      • That’s an interesting question, Jessie. When I think back to book I’ve read in the past it is usually the feeling the book generated in me that I remember more than the plot, or a powerful image that spoke to something deep inside me. In Spidercup by Marion Halligan the main character, Elinor, was dangerously overtaken by a speeding sports car and then later up the road she sees the car wrecked in a field with the doors open and Vivaldi still playing on the car radio and the driver dead. For me, that’s the most powerful image I’ve ever read in literature.

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