Made possible by the Drue Heinz Trust
“Swiftian satire of the highest order . . . Giddy, scathing and dazzling.”
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Paul Beatty is presented in conversation with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman.
Paul Beatty’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Sellout is a biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court—“an explosion of comic daring, cultural provocation, and genuine heart.”
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. Fueled 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.
The Sellout is the winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize, the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction, and was named a best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review and the Wall Street Journal. Paul Beatty is the author of three novels―Slumberland, Tuff, and The White Boy Shuffle―and two books of poetry: Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor.
More About Paul Beatty
The Guardian, March 2015
NPR, February 2015
The New York Times, October 2016
“One of the smartest and most honest reflections on race and identity in America.”
Join us in the Music Hall Foyer after the lecture to get your book signed or personalized. Classic Lines will have books for sale.