October 25, 2016

"Paul Beatty’s novel 'The Sellout,' a blistering satire about race in America, won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday..."

"... marking the first time an American writer has won the award. The five Booker judges, who were unanimous in their decision, cited the novel’s inventive comic approach to the thorny issues of racial identity and injustice... In a review in The New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote that the novel’s first 100 pages read like 'the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.'... The novel’s narrator is an African-American urban farmer and pot smoker who lives in a small town on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Brought up by a single father, a sociologist, the narrator grew up taking part in psychological studies about race. After his father is killed by the police during a traffic stop, the protagonist embarks on a controversial social experiment of his own, and ends up before the Supreme Court...."

The NYT reports. And I'll just say:

1. I don't trust the Brits to decide what's best about America, but thanks for the prompt to notice this book. My reading is not usually fiction, but I make some exceptions and I'll make an exception here.

2. Beatty? That's my name too, brother. I'm not a black person, but Beatty is my mother's maiden name, and I revel at the chance to embrace a Beatty.

3. I'm happy with the subject matter — even with the threat of law stuff ("ends up before the Supreme Court"), which I never expect to enjoy. And apologies to everyone who's sent me a law-based novel and waited, unrequited, for me to mention it on this blog.

4. Here's the link to buy "The Sellout" on Amazon. I'm buying the audio version.

41 comments:

Ryan said...

Any relation to Warren, Ann?

Saint Croix said...

thanks!

nothing to do with race but I suspect Althouse readers would love Kissing in Manhattan

Darrell said...

It'll be crap. You don't understand:Crap produces crap.

robinintn said...

"...surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility..." Gag.

Kassaar said...

Garner!

David Begley said...

Laslo is Beatty.

Rob said...

Embracing a Beatty always works out well.

sane_voter said...

I don't read fiction, except for Laslo.

mccullough said...

I'm wary of novels set in Los Angeles

tcrosse said...

Any relation to Ned ? Clyde ?

Michael K said...

If I want read a book about race, I'll read "My Grandfather's Son."

If I want to read a novel on this topic, I'll read "Huckleberry Finn" and I won; even need a trigger warning.

My African and West Indian medical students don't understand American blacks. I was just at my dental hygienist getting my teeth cleaned. She is Ethiopian and raised in Israel. She is one of the Ethiopian Jews rescued by Israel. She is married to a white man, also Jewish, and they visit Israel every year, She has about 10 siblings all over the world.

She has told me about the hate stares she gets from black women when she is out with her husband.

The self hatred of American blacks is killing them. At least the ones left after abortion is done with them.

LarsPorsena said...

I'm going to spoil it for you. The ending is......(drumroll)...Whitey did it!

Ann Althouse said...

I have no awareness of any relation to a famous Beatty.

narciso said...

well I don't know that one, but the winner of the booker prize, that meandering stream of consciousness, conspiracy laden tale of the jamaica posses, seven killings was agonizing, also a multivolume rant on the iraq war that one another prize or another,

Paul Ciotti said...

LarsPorsna: "I'm going to spoil it for you. The ending is......(drumroll)...Whitey did it!"

That was my reaction. i think liberal reviewers (are there any other kind?) can happily read a novel about race every week year-round. Just makes them feel so warm and cuddly.

readering said...

This has been very controversial in the British and Commonwealth publishing world--opening the storied prize to American writers. After all, we don't give the Pulitzer to Brits. There are stages to the Booker competition and last year Americans caused as stink by dominating the first round. Now one wins the whole thing. Of course, maybe they needed to open the competition up after a Brit woman won twice in four years before the change for the first two entries in her trilogy on Thomas Cromwell.

BN said...

So, Dylan was snubbed because they knew he would snub them.

Fuckin' limeys.

Sebastian said...

"The novel’s narrator is an African-American urban farmer and pot smoker who lives in a small town on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Brought up by a single father, a sociologist, the narrator grew up taking part in psychological studies about race. After his father is killed by the police during a traffic stop, the protagonist embarks on a controversial social experiment of his own, and ends up before the Supreme Court" Boy, that sure sounds like "satire." Another "novel" to skip. Out of laziness and contempt for prog artistic excretions, I look forward to the fiction-fisking by our hostess (she can do it!) that will save me the trouble of reading it.

chrisnavin.com said...

I've been trying for years to get 'Lil' Nigel,' a lovable boot black and Victorian scamp into the hearts of the British people, from an American perspective.

He may just be the son of a disgraced Duke, or one of Jack The Ripper's victims.

Where's my prize?

***'Lil' Nigel Brushes His Teeth' broke sales records in its category.

Mark said...

A bunch of people so small minded that they refuse to read a single book that might challenge them.

Typical Althouse commentariat tonight.

Laslo Spatula said...

Lamar Gonna Set You Straight...

Here's how I know a Brother has failed in writing the Black Experience: all the White People proclaim it Genius. White People, they want a Black Man to write a book that makes them feel like their benevolent appreciation makes them Part of the Struggle, but it better not make them uncomfortable and it better damn well not get their white hands dirty...

See, Rap makes White People nervous, because its got dirty hands: the Black Experience IS dirty hands, you feel me? You clean it up with Intellectual Shit Polish and now you just wrote what the White Man wants you to write: if you're accepted by Them you fucked up, son...

White People write novels to make them feel like there's gotta be some deepness to their lily-white existence, and White People read novels for the same damned pathetic reason. The Black Man ain't got time for that shit: we have enough dealing with the Here and Now of living in the White Man's World. Don't worry though, White People: you just rubbing on that hand sanitizer you White People like and keep pretending that your hands are clean. Me, I'm gonna chill on the couch and watch "Super Fly" stick it to the Man....

You think you got Problems? Fuck You.


I am Laslo.

chuck said...

Sounds like a boring bomb, the excerpts in the reviews second the motion, the cover art says go elsewhere. I might give it a read, or at least make an effort to finish a few pages if it was on kindle unlimited, but no, it's $9.99 for an 18 month old book.

Ken B said...

Sounds like another self-admiring marinade in confirmation bias and sneering. Saying the novel "explores issues" is the tell. But Althouse cries at pictures of Obama kissing babies, so who knows.

Ken B said...

No Mark, if you read the sardonic comments they all have in common the idea the book will not challenge anyone on anything, but will conform to a predictable group-think. Pablum at length. Maybe right, maybe wrong, but its not the prospect of a challenge that puts them off.
Btw, did you read The Bell Curve? Because *that* challenges people.

Terry said...

All the problems every Black person has are due to white racism.
All of them. Every single one. Don't believe me? Ask the white people who award the Booker prize what problems a Black person can have that are not related to white racism.
Poor health, poverty, addiction, disfunctional family, violence, involvement in the justice system . . . all the fault of the white people who think the Booker prize is a joke.

SukieTawdry said...

I find it amusing that the highest rated review at Amazon is a primer on how to read the book. I guess it doesn't come with instructions.

eddie willers said...

Lamar Gonna Set You Straight...

I was hoping you would resurrect James, the Non-Racist Slave Owner and Rutherford for this one.

Martin said...

Looked at the Amazon link and I think I'll pass. The fact that the Man-Booker crowd liked it is a negative, too. I can get any same-old-same-old anti-Americanisms I need on the internet for free.

"If you want to send a message, use Western Union."

Mountain Maven said...

You want a book on race? Not some predictable PC indictment?

Black Like Me.
The Color of Water.

Art in LA said...

I read "White Boy Shuffle" long ago ... one of my favorites. It's also set in Los Angeles about a nerdy skateboarding black kid, Gunnar Kaufmann, from South LA trying to figure out how he fits into a diverse world. You should give that a shot too ... it's really funny. Thanks for "The Sellout" tip!

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John Christopher said...

I listened to this as an audiobook over the summer. It's the kind of book that I used to read by the bagful, but now only finish through audio.

I didn't find it has terrific as the reviews, but certainly not bad and the narrator brings an interpretation to the material that I would have missed in many places by reading quickly in my own.

Saint Croix said...

I ordered it.

Now I'm trying to cancel it.

Satire is really hard to do! I think it's the hardest of all art forms in literature. It's hard to remove the smug from your soul, and you have to do that before you can write any satire.

Dr. Strangelove is brilliant. That's the most prominent example of successful satire that jumps to mind for me. I think you have to be a real misanthrope to write wonderful satire. You have to hate all humanity, and then you can do it.

If all you do is hate the other, you're in trouble already.

Mark said...

Ken, nice try. You can try to explain your assumption that you know everything this book can say .... but refusing to crack a page shows the truth of your lack of intellectual curiosity.

You are scared of what your would find, so you take on this all-knowing attitude to protect your provincialism.

Drago said...

Mark: " You are scared of what your would find, so you take on this all-knowing attitude to protect your provincialism."

Lol

The side that gives us safe spaces, trigger warnings and routinely, ROUTINELY, shuts down speakers with opposing opinions would now like to take a few moments to lecture others on how not to be scared to confront uncomfortable thoughts.

Well gee, thanks Mark. That's good advice. So good in fact that one wonders why the left universally rejects it?

Actually we don't. You see it's Fens Law again...and again....and again.

gadfly said...

"To each his own, said the old lady when she kissed her cow," but throwing the names Chris Rock and Richard Prior into what is good about a book and then tacking on “Readers turned off by excessive use of the N-word or those who are easily offended by stereotypes may find the book tough going” is far to insulting to be ignored. An excursion into personal biases regarding race is far more than I want to read about when the real and imagined come together as a skin color hang-up.

Racism is not just a black-white issue and it certainly is not one direction, white to black. Blacks in America have always categorized, labeled and otherwise discriminated against one another based on the shade of their skin color and texture of their hair. Skin color sensitivity needs to be recognized and dealt with accordingly among blacks and the the old chants about skin tones are buried deep into black literature and song. This one, circa 1940:

If you're white, you're alright.
If you're black, get back.
If you're brown, stick around.
If you're yellow, you're mellow.
If you're red, you're already dead
If you're Black - get back!
If you're white - you alright

If you're Black - get back!
If you're white - you alright

If you're Brown - stick around
If you're Yellow - you must one mellow fellow!

I don't want nuthin' black - but a Cadillac.

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Well, I can't argue with that!

Jupiter said...

Mark said...
"A bunch of people so small minded that they refuse to read a single book that might challenge them."

Oh, no, Mark. There are dozens of books that might challenge me that I refuse to read. Hell, hundreds! Thousands! Millions! In English alone!

Robert Cook said...

Mark, you're being unfair. It's not that they're so dumb or biased they refuse to read a book that might challenge them; they're so brilliant they know exactly what the book will be--and are thus able to sneer at it--without even reading it, which saves them lots of time, time they put to productive use by posting here their brilliant insights on the state of the world.

Roughcoat said...

... the novel’s inventive comic approach to the thorny issues of racial identity and injustice....

I'm done with all that. I don't care. I'm not interested.

Mark said...

Drago, I don't do that.

Or do I get to claim you grab women's pussies, because someone on your side does?

Enjoy being a dying relic in an increasingly diverse country. Enjoy Hillary.