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The Sellout
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2016 Longlist [MBP] > The Sellout by Paul Beatty

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Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Discussing The Sellout by Paul Beatty.


Robert | 363 comments I can say that this book will definitely be on the shortlist. For starters it tackles racism but in a snarky way. It is not a breezy read though as the prose is fast and rhythmic and almost Pynchonesque at times - not in that dense way though, more like how the references to music, art and tv shows are flung at you - I mean how many novels mention Bon Iver??

Once you get through the writing style I will guarantee you'll either laugh at the jokes or the absurd situations - all in the name of satire of course.


Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "I can say that this book will definitely be on the shortlist. For starters it tackles racism but in a snarky way. It is not a breezy read though as the prose is fast and rhythmic and almost Pynchon..."

I'm so excited to read this one! I had seen it on some lists predicting it to win the Pulitzer Prize this year, and it totally caught my attention. Will definitely pick it up once it comes through at my library.


Robert | 363 comments Go for it!!!! :)


message 5: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz (lschubert) I read this in April. It was difficult for me to get through.. I felt a little dumb reading but I definitely can see it's great writing. I also listened to it on audiobook and the narrator/reader is so good. I highly recommend the audiobook. Beatty skewers everyone, white, black, Hispanic, politicians, poor, rich, everyone.


Vanessa I'm reading this now and I am really enjoying it. It definitely makes me acutely uncomfortable and my immediate reaction after laughing out loud is to feel guilty, but I really like the over-the-top satirical style.

Agree with Liz - the narrator (Prentice Onayemi) for this book is fantastic.


BooksBeyondMeasure | 1 comments This is the one I was most excited to see on the list! Might have to buy a copy instead of waiting on the library.


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
I just bought this book last week for the another Goodreads Bookclub (The 21st Century Literature Bookclub), it will be our read there in August. (Check out the group if you are interested in reading modern literature, it's a great group!).


SibylM (sibyldiane) | 26 comments Britta wrote: "I just bought this book last week for the another Goodreads Bookclub (The 21st Century Literature Bookclub), it will be our read there in August. (Check out the group if you are interested in readi..."
Thanks for the tip Britta, I just found & joined the group, it looks right up my alley!


message 10: by Hugh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 151 comments Britta, Thanks for mentioning the 21st Century Literature group - I know we already have a few members who are in both that group and this one, and they are likely to appeal to a similar range of readers.


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Hugh wrote: "Britta, Thanks for mentioning the 21st Century Literature group - I know we already have a few members who are in both that group and this one, and they are likely to appeal to a similar range of r..."

You are welcome!


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
I started yesterday, and the beginning is dense. I will have to take this slow...


Robert | 363 comments It is not an easy read but oncr you get used to it, the language becomes poetic.I wouldn't call it a novel as all the chapters are loosely connected. just remember this a satire first and foremost, things like closure and plot structure are unnecessary in this case. Despite the difficulty I can't stop thinking about it.


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "It is not an easy read but oncr you get used to it, the language becomes poetic.I wouldn't call it a novel as all the chapters are loosely connected. just remember this a satire first and foremost,..."

Ok, this makes sense. Thank you!


message 15: by Alan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alan (alanprb) This book started off great but I got fed up with it about half way through and it became a bit of a chore to finish. A meandering, almost scatter-gun plot. I think I only understood about half of this book and half the jokes. Most of the cultural and social references were lost on me. I feel like I don't understand enough about this culture to appreciate this book.


Robert | 363 comments Heh I can see that happening - again this is pure satire. The idea of a plot isn't that significant, what is important is that us reader's are seeing the absurdity of contemporary thought. *SMALL SPOILER* For example the city of Dickens is a representation of the city of Compton - the person who founded Compton is called Dickenson Compton. Also Compton had a heavy African American population that it's white residents left. In the book this sort of happens but then the authorities want to state that Dickens is non existent! -this ties up with Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man.

Take a look at the characters - all for satirical purposes
An African American who wants to be treated like a slave as it gives him meaning!
An African AMerican who rewrites novel in order to stop whitewashing YET YET he lives and thinks like a rich white guy
BonBon who thinks that integrating racist beliefs will reinstate Dickens as a proper city lol brilliant.
The idea of Hood Day is total satire and it's done intelligently.

Re the idea of culture being baffling - you can just Google the reference and you'll find out what he's talking about :)


message 17: by Alan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alan (alanprb) Robert, I'm not saying this isn't a great book, it just wasn't one that fully worked for me. I don't think the googling would help me much because it's more about my understanding of the society that is being satirised than trivia. i.e. Hominy wanting to be a slave for reasons of identity/nostalgia?/sense of order. I get that, but I don't understand whether this is true. So I don't understand whether the satire is on the money. I need to read further on this.

Even though I didn't love it, I wouldn't mind if this won because I do appreciate it's creativity and originality. I appreciate that this is a fresh perspective that adds something new to the conversation (unlike for example Homegoing which was just regurgitated polished storytelling).

I feel this book may grow on me. I'm really starting to see how interesting this book is.


Robert | 363 comments Agreed


message 19: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments Prologue read. I like this one!


message 20: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments Now deciding whether to forgive the sin of referring to Scotch whiskey. Whiskey comes from Ireland or America. In Scotland, they make whisky!


Robert | 363 comments Now now don't be fussy :)


Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Neil wrote: "Now deciding whether to forgive the sin of referring to Scotch whiskey. Whiskey comes from Ireland or America. In Scotland, they make whisky!"

I mean... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotch_...

;)


message 23: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments Robert wrote: "Now now don't be fussy :)"

:-)

It's simply that I have many bottles of it in the house and, when it is a subject you are interested in, you notice those things!


Ernie (ewnichols) | 66 comments Ha! I thought the same thing...and so did a friend of mine from Ireland.


message 25: by Hugh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hugh (bodachliath) | 151 comments Neil wrote: "Now deciding whether to forgive the sin of referring to Scotch whiskey. Whiskey comes from Ireland or America. In Scotland, they make whisky!"

... of course, but it's uisge really and that just means water in Gaelic


message 26: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments "The meetings consisted mostly of the members who showed up every other week arguing with the ones who came every other month about what exactly “bimonthly” means."

I loved this quote. It so perfectly summarises conversations in many meetings I have been to. I work with a lot of people for whom English is not their first language (although most of them speak it better than I do!) and they find it very amusing that we don't know what our own words mean.


message 27: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments Hugh wrote: ... of course, but it's uisge really and that just means water in Gaelic"

Exactly! All the more reason to drink more of it! Water is good for you!


message 28: by Kay (last edited Aug 04, 2016 07:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kay | 71 comments Alan wrote: "Robert, I'm not saying this isn't a great book, it just wasn't one that fully worked for me. I don't think the googling would help me much because it's more about my understanding of the society th..."

This book has made some buzz in the US exactly because it satirizes American culture in all of its contradictions. I was wondering how non-US audiences will get along with it, since you do need some cultural context to get if the satire is working or not.


Robert | 363 comments Kay wrote: "Alan wrote: "Robert, I'm not saying this isn't a great book, it just wasn't one that fully worked for me. I don't think the googling would help me much because it's more about my understanding of t..."

I'm Maltese and I had no trouble at all with understanding the satire.


message 30: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments Kay wrote: "Alan wrote: "Robert, I'm not saying this isn't a great book, it just wasn't one that fully worked for me. I don't think the googling would help me much because it's more about my understanding of t..."

Kay - I'm reading this as a "non-US audience" and I think I am reading it as a satire of the American TV series I have watched! My "cultural context" comes from things like The Wire, Treme, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights. This probably means I am completely misinterpreting the satire!


message 31: by Kay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kay | 71 comments Robert wrote: "Kay wrote: "Alan wrote: "Robert, I'm not saying this isn't a great book, it just wasn't one that fully worked for me. I don't think the googling would help me much because it's more about my unders..."

That's wonderful to hear. It just speaks to Beatty's ability to write then! And your reading intelligence, obviously :)


message 32: by Kay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kay | 71 comments Neil wrote: "Kay wrote: "Alan wrote: "Robert, I'm not saying this isn't a great book, it just wasn't one that fully worked for me. I don't think the googling would help me much because it's more about my unders..."

Ha, that really made me laugh.


message 33: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments Kay wrote: "Neil wrote: "Kay wrote: "Alan wrote: "Robert, I'm not saying this isn't a great book, it just wasn't one that fully worked for me. I don't think the googling would help me much because it's more ab..."

In my defence, I do also watch and read the news!


Michelle (topaz6) Taking a break from Hystopia to read this one, now I just have to decide whether I love the writing style or not!


Robert | 363 comments there's also digs at sanford and sons and the little rascals


message 36: by Alan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alan (alanprb) Robert wrote: "there's also digs at sanford and sons and the little rascals"

But I've never heard of them.


Robert | 363 comments litte rascals was a show which dealt with a bunch of naughty kids. the show was praised for its diverse cast but the African-American kids were the ones who got tortured. sanford and sons was a sitcom about an African-American family and it dealt with working class African-American culture. kind of a earthy fresh prince of belair


Robert | 363 comments oh i know about these shows because Italian tv channels feature a lot of syndicated shows.


message 39: by Jia (last edited Aug 05, 2016 06:45PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jia Chan This is my first 2016 man booker long list book. Personally, I found that it is not an easy book to read, not because of the writing style, but because of the many satire and humor references historical and contemporary American culture ( in particular LA and black culture). I felt on multiple occasions some of it are overdone. I have lived in the US (east coast)for 4 years and I still feel like a lot references in the book that I don't really understand. The satire and humor is really excellent if you can get it, however, a lot of times I need the help of Google every other pages in order not to miss any thing and trying to provide a context of the ramblings in the book, and this makes a very disruptive reading for me. I feel that the book doesn't explore much on the relationships between characters and halfway through I don't really care about the characters anymore.


Vanessa Neil wrote: "Now deciding whether to forgive the sin of referring to Scotch whiskey. Whiskey comes from Ireland or America. In Scotland, they make whisky!"
There's also a mistake in referring to a p-value of 0.7 being significant (I think the author meant to refer to the correlation r or the coefficient of determination r-squared), but I let it slide... :-)


message 41: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments I finished this last night and thought it was excellent. I think I probably missed quite a lot of the satire due to be English and white, but I thought it was very clever and very funny. I'm four books into the long list now and I think this is my favourite so far.


Robert | 363 comments I read the sellout three weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it. For me that's a sign of a great book.


message 43: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil | 511 comments We've adopted "Tu dormis, tu perdis" as our family motto.


message 44: by Britta (last edited Aug 06, 2016 01:11PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Just finished the book, and there is so much to think about! I am with Neil and Robert that the book is witty and often hilariously funny. I am somewhat less positive, though, mainly because I felt that Beatty was too much of a show-off. But still, I would be quite surprised if The Sellout didn't make the short list.


Michelle (topaz6) This was a really good, important book, but wow was it ever heavy!


Julianne Quaine | 35 comments This is my first Booker long list book. Am half way through and despite not being really familiar with all the cultural references am finding it very funny and interesting read. Also enjoying the range of comments from other readers - agree tu dormis tu perdis is a great motto!


Ernie (ewnichols) | 66 comments While I did not enjoy the opening, I got into the book in the first third or so, but I basically can't wait for it to end now. Not much more to go, though I don't care to pick it up anymore. While I don't doubt its importance and relevance to society, it's just not for me. I'm just tired of reading Beatty. The book doesn't offend me, but I also don't find it that funny. I seem to be in the minority here. I'd rather read something else on the subject matter - not satirical - and more literary. I wish there was more to choose from when it comes to that. The book does, however, make you really think sometimes, and it is an open discussion on race and perceptions of reality, which I think is very hard to find. I think that says a lot.


Robert | 363 comments If the book makes you think I guessthat makes it literary? ;)


Ernie (ewnichols) | 66 comments I wouldn't say that :)

But definitely has created dialogue in the reading community, which is great. For me, I'm thinking more of form, style and character development, but I think everyone has a different opinion on what that means.


Julianne Quaine | 35 comments Have now finished this book and have to say I really enjoyed it - while not getting all the references I certainly was able to understand quite a bit which kept me reading. Particularly liked the broad commentary on many things eg "Guess who's coming to dinner? Kabul''. I'm predicting this one will be shortlisted because it's an important book I think (noting I haven't read any others yet).


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