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Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Named one of the best books of 2015 by The New York Times Book Review and the Wall Street Journal

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 '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.



About the Author

Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty (born 1962 in Los Angeles) is a contemporary African-American author. Beatty received an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College and an MA in psychology from Boston University. He is a 1980 graduate of El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, California. In 1990, Paul Beatty was crowned the first ever Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. One of the prizes for winning that championship title was the book deal which resulted in his first volume of poetry, Big Bank Takes Little Bank. This would be followed by another book of poetry Joker, Joker, Deuce as well as appearances performing his poetry on MTV and PBS (in the series The United States of Poetry) . In 1993, he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. His first novel, The White Boy Shuffle received a positive review in The New York Times, the reviewer, Richard Bernstein, called the book "a blast of satirical heat from the talented heart of black American life. " His second book, Tuff received a positive notice in Time Magazine. Most recently, Beatty edited an anthology of African-American humor called Hokum and wrote an article in The New York Times on the same subject.



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