The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I read this book a while ago, in three days. Loved it. Wanted to write something deep, or at least coherent about it. But well, it is not happening. So, just a few words …

The narrator of The Sellout is raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, and spends his childhood as the subject of racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.

Probably because his upbringing, he is just plain weird a lot of the time, but still just awesome – I mean the guy rides around town on a horse!

The plot is centred around his hometown Dickens, which has been removed from the map to save California from embarrassment. To make Dickens less of a disaster, he, emm … reinstates slavery and segregates the local high school. Seems logical, right?

Somehow this weird premise evolves into one of the best (satire) books about race and the deep racial problem in the US, which will always be hard for me to grasp.

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality―the black Chinese restaurant.

Winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction in 2016.