The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I noted in my last post that some novels are harder to appreciate for those not from the cultural milieu in which the novel concerned originates. This is one such. It is, however, despite that, assuredly a piece of literary art of the first water.

It is a satire about race in modern America – the USA, to be more precise. It is funny and erudite, although, not being from the USA and never having lived there, some of the allusions and cultural references were lost on me. But the ironies are unmissable – well, plenty of them, at least – there may have been even more. The plot concerns a black man in Los Angeles who attempts to reintroduce racial segregation and who even owns a slave, of sorts. It is really funny, and very thought provoking. I loved, in particular, the accounts of the protagonist’s upbringing, at the hands of his intellectual, social scientist father who nonetheless embraced some amusing but brutal parenting techniques.

If you are interested in what is happening in US society, or if you just want some intelligent, caustic storytelling, this is for you.

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