'Outrageous, hilarious and profound.' Simon Schama, Financial Times
'The longer you stare at Beatty's pages, the smarter you'll get.' Guardian
'The most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I've read.' New York Times
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.
Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father's racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father's work will lead to a memoir that will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers there never was a memoir. All that's left is a bill for a drive-through funeral. What's more, Dickens has literally been wiped off the map to save California from further embarrassment. Fuelled by despair, the narrator sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
In his trademark absurdist style, which has the uncanny ability to make readers want to both laugh and cry, The Sellout is an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time.
Winner of Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2016.
'A no-holds-barred satire about the history and legacy of racism in America'. Guardian, Best Books of the Year
'A book of coruscating satire and the darkest humour whose bilious narrative voice leaves you at once enthralled and exhausted'. Observer, Best Books of 2016
'One of the few books of recent years that has made me choke with laughter'. Daily Mail, Best Books of 2016
'A provocative, razor-sharp satire'. Mail on Sunday, Best Books of 2016
'Wow, the Man-Bookers got it right! Nothing is harder to write or easier to read than a full-on comic-philosophic novel that makes you laugh and think, sometimes at the same time. Nathanael West and Joseph Heller are hooting from heaven for this one. If you haven't already read Paul Beatty's The Sellout, your life is more meagre for the omission'. -- Simon Schama Financial Times, Best Books of 2016
'A deeply ironic, comically inventive and sometimes very sad novel'. -- Lorien Kite Financial Times, Best Books of 2016
'[An] outrageous scattergun satire'. Telegraph, Books of the Year
'A hilarious, anger-fuelled cadenza that feels as if it were written in one manic burst'. -- Mark Haddon Observer, Best Books of 2016
'Bitterly funny and finely layered...[The Sellout] seems even more essential after the racially demarcated "whitelash" of Donald Trump's victory.' Tom Gatti, New Statesman, Books of the Year 2016
'I was banned from reading in bed because I was laughing so much.' Olivia Williams, Man Booker Judge 2016
'Brilliant. Amazing. Like demented angels wrote it.' Sarah Silverman 'A timely satire as well as a hugely entertaining and memorable novel'. Independent
'A sharp satire of contemporary America and an irreverent but poignant take on the country's racial tensions'. The Lady
'There is so much to enjoy in this profane battering-ram of a novel'. New Books
'Dazzling...vital and vigorous'. Bay Books
'A breathtakingly confrontational American race satire with a big laugh and a gasp on every page'. -- Peter Bradshaw Guardian
'This brilliant satire on racial politics in the US is at once timely, hilarious and outstanding'. -- Robert McCrum Observer
'One of the most astute pieces of satire to have discussed the heightened racial tension in the USA in recent years...one of the most compelling and funny pieces of politically relevant fiction seen for some time'. Country Life
'[A] whip-smart, gag-happy assault on modern American race relations'. Metro
'A compelling act of demonstrative rhetoric, a masterful show of verbal energy that questions just how far equality has come and where it hopes to go'. New Statesman
'Beatty is an original and irreverent talent.' The Times
'Paul Beatty's blistering The Sellout shares DNA with the work of Swift, as well as possessing some of the savagery of Wyndham Lewis, and the single-minded absurdity of Myles na gCopaleen.' Jon Day, Man Booker Judge 2016
'There's satire and then there's satire, and without question Paul Beatty's caustic third novel, The Sellout, definitely falls into the latter category...Brutally honest and very funny.' Independent
'An outrageous scattergun satire taking aim at racism and what racism has done to black Americans...The Sellout aims to do for race relations what Joseph Heller's Catch-22 - a favourite novel of Beatty's - did for the Second World War...Beatty's sharp humour challenges pieties from all sides, while never losing sight of the fundamental issue: America's racism and the legacy of slavery. Intelligent and entertaining.' Telegraph
'Not for the faint-hearted.' Daily Mail
'Both riotously experimental and touching... erudite... and viscerally engaging... Exceptional comic writing makes the skeletal plotting work... Beatty's inspiring new novel about the impossibility of "post-racial" anything in America is much more than "scathing" - it is constructive.' Times Literary Supplement
'There's satire and then there's satire, and without question Paul Beatty's caustic third novel, The Sellout, definitely falls into the latter category...brutally honest and very funny'. Independent