The Sellout: A Novel

ByPaul Beatty

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
serena vinter
I almost felt as though I was reading a rap song instead of a book. I liked the story line and the main character but I couldn't always understand what he was saying with the long run-on sentences. Also some of the points he tried to make did not communicate well to me, maybe because of the different cultural issues.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stefanie nesi
In the tradition of Voltaire and swift Beatty has established himself as the preeminent satirist of the 21st century. His writing makes me think that the outcome of the 2016 presidential election was just one of his constructs. Sadly it wasn't, but maybe we will have an optimistic turn at the end like his darkly comic masterpiece.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kim arnhols
Hilarious! Excellent novel. My library is filled with serious nonfiction. I'm long overdue for some satire. There's a good gut-busting laugh at least every three pages. Hidden inside of Paul Beatty's crazy story line are some extremely deep insights about the world around us. I'm now a fan.
Future Home of the Living God: A Novel :: CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories and a Novella :: The Ninth Hour: A Novel :: 4 3 2 1: A Novel :: Absolute Power
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The writing in this book is edited so well I regretted every time my ADD distracted me; finally I gave up and back tracked each time I picked it up. As a self effacing intellectual elitist, I found the book hilarious but it won't be everyone's cup of tea. I cannot imagine Church ladies and traditionalists appreciating the author's honest examination of the ironies of human and race relations today. I thoroughly enjoyed Sellout and would highly recommend it!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
To me the novel felt a bit overwrought (what I meant by cartoonish I suppose), but with moments of genuine humor and more than a few good commentaries on 'post' racial America. Worth reading, though I might have borrowed this one from the library in hindsight...
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
anne wrobel
I read this book as part of a bookclub read. It was slow and incorporated components that I felt extraneous to my own life, e.g., the satsuma experience, the slave, etc. Thus, it was hard for me to relate to the characters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christina ramsey
A sly, funny and sad rumination on race relations and what it means to be Black in today's America.
An essay disguised as a novel in which Mr. Beatty works through the fog of the past to come to a
Understanding of who he is and who he wants to become.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
bebe booth
I picked this book for club because I was intrigued by the blurb, and one of my other faster reading members warned me that it was very 'stream of consciousness' although stream of rantiness is probably more apt.

The Sellout has follows Bonbon (I'm pretty sure all/most of the full names are blanked in the book and only nicknames, labels and titles are used as he tried to resurrect his neighbourhood as a recognized 'burb following his crazy-activitist father's death. Bonbon's methods include acquiring a slave re-segregating schools and other generally Un-PC stunts.

The story is anything but straightforward, as mentioned above the tale feels more like a 300 page rant rather than a typical biographical account, which I felt was OK in small doses but at times got hard to really follow. There are definitely nuggets of wisdom, and plenty of witty parts, but I often found myself seeing too much of the author in the writing gleefully pulling apart racial stereotypes and tensions (which is typically something I appreciate) it just felt like that was ALL the novel was doing, there didn't really feel like there were any breaks from the subject. (which in itself was probably an intentional comment on race)

I'm not annoyed I read the Sellout but I need to be honest and say I didn't thoroughly enjoy the book either, hopefully I don't get lampooned at book club when we next meet.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
The writing was excellent but the plot too far fetched to follow. The author has a great sense of humour and the characters are unrealistically vivid. I just couldn't keep going with the endless descriptions and asides and a plot that is odd and unbelievable. .
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nikki demmers
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so supremely uncomfortable reading a book. Beatty hits the ground running, dropping you right smack in the middle of his world without any warning or preparation. I saw this book described elsewhere as “a slap in the face,” and that’s a perfect description. It’s literally about a black man who reinstates slavery and segregation to save his community.

Every single page is filled with razor sharp commentary on racial identity and racism in America, but this isn’t the careful solemnity of, say, Ta-Nehisi Coates. No, The Sellout is irreverent, absurd, caustic satire — almost to the point of exhaustion. It’s also brilliant and hilarious. It’s an uncomfortable, jarring read, but it should be, because we ought to be uncomfortable and jarred when we think about race in 21st century America.

One scene in particular that had me laughing out loud involved one of the characters renaming Huckleberry Finn: “The Pejorative-Free Adventures and Intellectual and Spiritual Journeys of African-American Jim and His Young Protege, White Brother Huckleberry Finn, as They Go in Search of the Lost Black Family Unit.”

Beatty is one of those writers who is WAY smarter than most of us will ever be, and trying to keep up with him and live in his world for 288 pages is a challenge that readers will either find rewarding or tiring — or perhaps, like me, a combination of both. As compelling as Beatty’s writing is, parts of the second half seemed to really drag, and as much as this book deserves to be read and talked about, I think it could have benefited from some more focused editing.
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