Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, 2016
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.
Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens - on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles - the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since the '68 quake."
Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in 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.
Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident - the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins - he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
First the narrator does an excellent job. Second the sample was misleading. I was expecting humor in the same vein as Kurt Vonnegut. if you are into race politics you might find this interesting.
1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
Ever since hearing the sample clip I've been listening to this book non-stop. It's so well-written, bold, profound, hilarious, and on-point. Paul Beatty has been compared to Vonnegut, Roth, and Heller, but he's got his own distinct voice that is beautifully captured by the narrator. I'm really sorry to have finished this book and enjoyed it so much that I may have to listen to it again, which I never do. Many are calling it the best book of 2015 and it's definitely got my vote!
39 personnes sur 41 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
I really appreciated the humor, the cultural references, the satire, the cleverness and the reality of what this author wrote. But the stream-of-consciousness style became so repetitive and so mind-numbing that I stopped hearing what the author was saying.
I wanted to experience this book as some other reviewers and some critics have as a brilliant tour-de-force, but instead I found it self-indulgent and desperately in need of a storyline.
I tried to follow what was being said with the small portions of plot thrown in, but the listening task of keeping up with the constant and overwhelming satire made the task impossible for me.
I even hesitated to write this negative review considering the importance of the subject matter, but this book lost me after struggling to listen barely halfway through. Besides, the people who should be reading or listening to this book, won't be reading or listening to it.
58 personnes sur 63 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
As a highly educated Black man living in the United States, I feel as if this book was written to me. The illustrative depiction of the duality of ignorant intelligence was so incredibly elegant that the things I disliked about the book - the loquaciousness, the temporally difficult to follow diatribes - were the things I actually found most endearing. For, if these previously-mentioned aspects were not rampantly displayed throughout the book, I would doubt the sincerity of the book's meesage. My only wish, at this point, is to be able to talk to someone else who's read the book. I am grateful to the skilled author for having written this book!
62 personnes sur 69 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
You really need to listen to this book with notepaper nearby. There are some incredibly witty lines that deserve way more attention than a quick listen.
For instance, when he's talking about giving a Paul Revere-type warning to the homies he muses, "One if by Land Cruiser. Two if by C Class Mercedes." I don't often laugh out loud during books, but I certainly did during this one. It's irreverent and wickedly funny.
This is some fine satire. If you like sincere books, perhaps a different selection would be a better choice. But if you appreciate some biting humor that leaves no stone unturned, this is a 5-star choice.
46 personnes sur 51 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
Any additional comments?
Not sure what made me pick this one up - not so glad I did. On the positive side, the book offers humorous propositions for the revitalization of suppressed and impoverished minority communities, provides great period detail as well as vivid portrayal of the communities southeast of LA. What didn't really work for me was Beatty's attempt to wrap the plight of disenfranchised black people up in cynical humor. Hostility bleeds too transparently through the humor. His characters are interesting, but lack the honesty that it would take for me to connect with them. Beatty is obviously well-read, intelligent, and shows it, with many references to all things cultural, literary and obtuse. I personally found the literary name-dropping a bit excessive and a distraction from the story. The book is interesting from an east-LA and baby-boomer-generation historical perspective, and Beatty definitely has talent as a writer - this one just didn't work for me.
21 personnes sur 23 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
I've read many books but this is by far the funniest most entertaining of the lot. The way he favors the truth is golden. Now I have to track down his other works. Make sure when you listen you have something to write with because you are going to want to note some of his quotes. How does he come up with some of this stuff. To write this his mind had to be thinking in some other level. I'm driving around laughing with folks thinking I'm crazy. They also picked the perfect performer to read it. Wow!
25 personnes sur 28 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
Can't say enough good things! The story was provocative and satirical, with a lot of humor in between. I loved the poetic prose so eloquently brought to life by the narrator. This is a must read for anyone questioning notions about race and political correctness in this society.
17 personnes sur 20 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
Awesome! Smart and intelligent. Offer an unapologetic, honest yet humorous commentary on race in America.
18 personnes sur 22 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
This is a shockingly wonderful book that turns racism on its head. SPOILER ALERT (although I think this is in the promo) Imagine a African American man reinstating segregation of blacks and whites when we all thought it was done with and the way to end racism. The ramifications are hilarious and completely original, wrenching the mind around and into some very new and deeper ways of thinking. Someone said the mark of great art is to entertain and educate. In that way, this is a great work of art, yet so much fun.The language, plot and irony of this book are startling and fresh. I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a very long time.
17 personnes sur 21 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
We saw author Beatty interviewed by Jeffry Brown on the PBS News Hour and thought Beatty polite, smart, restrained, but didn't get the book. Then it won the Booker (first for an American), and we decided to try it. The book is brilliantly inventive, and has black Americans dealing with racism by stealing from racist tactics and running their plays, so to speak.The language and writing are grand in their own way, and the reader/listener comes to appreciate Beatty as a poet. Turning racism inside-out and upside-down, plus splendid writing, add up to what won the book the Booker.
The reader is terrific, a do-anything guy deserving cheers.
Caveat: If you give yourself to the book, you'll find yourself thinking like the characters, your mind's voice talking like them, and you'll need to be careful not to slip and do that aloud in ordinary conversation.
2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente