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Review: The Sellout by Paul Beatty


Author: Paul Beatty

Title: The Sellout

Purchase: Available the UK and the US.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars

Great for: Fans of hard-hitting literary fiction and diverse reads

Themes: Crime, humour, race, culture, politics, diversity

Review: How does one even begin to write a review on the 2016 Man Booker prize winner!?

This is a witty and scathing satire, primarily concerned with skin colour and the prejudices towards it. Its boldness in confronting these issues is commendable and the brashness it does so with, makes this an often disquieting read. Yet a necessary one. The subject matter is complex, as is the story, and also my opinions towards it.

I did not understand every cultural reference and some parts were so logically and politically dense as to lose me entirely! Yet neither of these put me off my enjoyment of this and only served to make me strive to learn more on the topics broached.

Man Booker winner’s of past have not been known for their humour. And yet Beatty manages to make a reckless mockery of his fictional America and still be well received. In fact, Beatty is the first American author to be awarded the renowned Man Booker prize and both his win and this bold satire could not have come at a more apt time in American history.

With Donald Trump’s polarising presidency and, what many deem, his outdated attitudes towards race, this book takes a contrary stance to his ideals. It outwardly mocks and appears unafraid of its reception! This show of support for Beatty’s defiance, given the current political climate, is heartening and allows for a slew of innovative new writers to brave the harsh criticism in defence of their moral beliefs.

This withering political criticism and social commentary is well deserving of the accolade it has already garnered. The unabashed approach it takes makes the reader stand to attention and makes this a powerful and commendable written caricature of society.

  • Jack

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Well written!

    • Thank you so much, Jack. That means so much!