I had planned to read this Man Booker Prize winner last of the list as it’s the most recent winner. However current circumstances meant it’s my 3rd from last read of the winners up to and including 2016!
The circumstances being that I was on a beach holiday with a paperback copy of The Sellout, but a kindle version of James Kelman’s ‘How late it was, how late’ and a 75% finished library copy of The English Patient back at home! I always prefer to read a real book on a beach than my kindle/phone so this inevitably won!
I saw Paul Beatty talk at the Southbank Centre along with the other shortlisted authors on the night before the prize announcement. I found he came across as arrogant and like he had numerous places he’d rather be than on the cusp of winning an international literature prize.
The extract Beatty read that evening from the very start of the book also gave me the impression of arrogance – it is but having finished the book I think bold is a better word for the tone of the book! I think Beatty writes to make you feel uncomfortable and the whole premise of the novel fits this, it’s about a guy who’s been bought up as a psychology experiment by his father deciding racial separation is the best thing for his failing community.
I think this is a great book for the time we’re in now, not just America but across the world. It took a bit of getting used to but I really enjoyed it and hope to look up Beatty’s previous novels soon!
“I sit in a thickly padded chair that, much like this country, isn’t quite as comfortable as it looks”
“Pretty much everything that made the twentieth century bearable was invented in a California garage.”
“Once, while watching my father typing away at his desk, I asked him where his ideas came from. He turned around, his tongue thick with scotch whiskey, and said, “The real question is not where do ideas come from but where do they go.”
“If you think about it, the only thing you absolutely never see in car commercials isn’t Jewish people, homosexuals, or urban Negroes, it’s traffic.”