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A caustic disquisition on identity, gentrification, history, advertising and citrus farming, The Sellout captures a time when diversity has gone completely mainstream. The wonderful writing is powered by a wicked wit, with characters who speak a pop-philosopher patois; this is a funny and daring novel that subverts harmful cultural assumptions. Writing that both entertains and provokes.
This will be a rare opportunity to meet Paul Beatty as he discusses his Man Booker prize-winning novel. The Sellout is an outrageous satire taking aim at racism and what racism has done to black Americans; the book opens with the trial of Bonbon, who wants to put his home town back on the map by trying to reinstitute slavery and segregation in his Los Angeles suburb. So embarrassing is the “agrarian ghetto” of Dickens to Los Angeles that it has been erased altogether from the map of California, and so the last stable source of the community’s collective identity has gone. Cue Bonbon’s desperate scheme.