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The Sellout Audiobook

The Sellout

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Born in Dickens, 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 memoir will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed, he discovers there never was a memoir.

Fuelled by despair, he 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.

©2015 Paul Beatty (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Outrageous, hilarious and profound.... It takes a whole other level of sheer audacity to expose atrocious things through the play of wit.... Juiciness stains every lovely page of Beatty’s mad, marvellous, toothsome book." (Financial Times)

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (444 )
5 star
 (196)
4 star
 (131)
3 star
 (79)
2 star
 (26)
1 star
 (12)
Overall
4.0 (401 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.6 (400 )
5 star
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4 star
 (82)
3 star
 (26)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
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  •  
    bookylady 25/10/2016
    bookylady 25/10/2016 Member Since 2014

    Bookworm, librarian, chocaholic. Give me a good book, a bar of chocolate and a glass of fine wine and I'm a happy lady.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A clever, enjoyable satire on racism in todays USA"
    Any additional comments?

    To be honest, I would never have read this novel if it had not been shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. But don't, whatever you do, be put off by the curse of the 'prize-nominated 'literary fiction' moniker. This is an absolute gem, to be savoured and read slowly, for the pleasure of clever, witty, thought-provoking prose and a plethora ( a word highlighted in the novel) of bittersweet and some downright nasty characters. The narration is excellent and the plot is well developed taking the notion of post-modern slavery/racism and running with it, in all sorts of directions. I'm so glad I listened and I will listen to it again.

    27 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loughlin 12/12/2016
    Loughlin 12/12/2016 Member Since 2016

    dublinlough

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    "Self-absorbed and rambling with no real focus"

    This was a chore from start to finish. Some fascinating points about race in America were addressed but sadly in a convoluted and demented way. The absurdist / surreal approach used to tell the story was at once both unfocused and unnecessarily longwinded.

    18 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 13/06/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "Brilliant and hilarious."

    Funny, witty, biting and entertaining as hell. Mississippi Goddamn meets Donald Barthelme and I don't even know what else. A highly enjoyable story and a crazy good narration.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Douglas 09/02/2017 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sorry"

    Writing is super creative and funny but story is quite boring - and yes I get that it's satire. Just not great. Couldn't wait for it to be over, but occasional hilarious lines keep it going, barely.

    15 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cian Dublin, Ireland 22/04/2017
    Cian Dublin, Ireland 22/04/2017

    Cian

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    "Well written but a little disappointing"

    Before reading this book, I knew only a few things about it. I know it won the Booker prize and was the first American novel to do so. I had also been given a gist of the story that turned out to be highly misleading. The most common way I heard it described was that it was about a black man who runs a watermelon and weed farm and who brings back slavery to run it, which leads to him going to the supreme court to defend his case, and that the entire thing was a racial satire. While all of that is technically true, it's not in any way what the story is really about and is more a series of minor details.

    The protagonist of the book is a black man and his occupation is being a farmer of watermelons and weed (which he is very good at) but the story is about his entire life, not about the farm. A large portion covers his childhood in the fictional town of Dickens (somewhere in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and could be considered analogous to places like Compton or Watts) with his well-educated, black supremacist father. For the most part, the plot is just the day-to-day life of the comical cast of characters. The part about the protagonist bringing back slavery isn't really true. He owns one slave, but it's a person who wants to be a slave and doesn't do any work. The Supreme Court segments are exclusively at the start and end of the book and there are no court battles or arguments on the subject.

    I do think the book was funny. It's definitely got some pretty original takes on the idea of race in America that don't fall squarely into what anyone could call "liberal" or "conservative" and the lead character is quite idiosyncratic. He's also highly skeptical and cynical of pretty much everyone around him, and a lot of the humour comes from his sardonic opinions on other characters, which were always enjoyable.

    I feel like I might have enjoyed this more if I had different expectations on what the story was about, so I'm hoping to dispel these common misleading descriptors for anyone else. Just be aware that there is little in the way of plot and that it's a story first and foremost about its characters and you'll probably enjoy it a lot more.

    I do have to commend the reader though, who I thought did an excellent job. The narration is from the point of view of the central character and I really felt like he brought that character to life in his performance.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lissa compton 11/05/2017
    lissa compton 11/05/2017 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loathed this book"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The only thing that would have made this book any better was a shredding machine.


    What character would you cut from The Sellout?

    All of them


    Any additional comments?

    It was soooo boring

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellis 08/04/2017
    Ellis 08/04/2017

    H

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    "the truth about the American dream at last"

    brilliant, funny, cutting, the truth. great read (listen) about the real America, no holds barred, in an amusing story that says it as it is. everyone who feels America is a super power should listen to this - the truth.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Z A 03/03/2017
    J Z A 03/03/2017
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    "An interesting book"

    Difficult to get into at first as it is framed in a unique way and many of the cultural reference points are not known that well outside the urban USA.
    But the use of language and ideas is excellent.
    The performance was excellent and helped immensely with understanding. Actually reading this as text would have been more difficult.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruben 16/01/2017
    Ruben 16/01/2017 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Does not work too well as an audiobook"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Well, I wanted to read it and now I have. But apart from a few good laughs I cannot say it enriched me very much (but perhaps I am not the ideal audience for this book).


    If you’ve listened to books by Paul Beatty before, how does this one compare?

    No.


    What does Prentice Onayemi bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    He has the perfect voice to be the main character: fast, witty, arrogant and careless. It just


    Was The Sellout worth the listening time?

    see question 1


    Any additional comments?

    It somehow did not work for me as an audiobook. It is clearly very well written and perhaps with a hard copy I could have followed the storyline better, but now I felt lost quite often and at the same time had the feeling that nothing much was happening...as if it was a collection of anecdotes rather than a clear story (which I like audiobooks to be).

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Aberdeen, Scotland 30/03/2017
    Amazon Customer Aberdeen, Scotland 30/03/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Funny, charming, awkward and prickly"

    Perfect narrator too. Just the right amount of social wrestling to make you think, but not too hard, to make you smirk, often.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Anonymous
    28/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Least popular book group choice in twenty years. "
    Would you try another book from Paul Beatty and/or Prentice Onayemi?

    Maybe.


    What was most disappointing about Paul Beatty’s story?

    A clever idea, perhaps a bit too clever. This book obviously convinced the MBP judges but not us.


    What does Prentice Onayemi bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Authenticity.


    Any additional comments?

    Reading the Sellout confirms our decision never again to automatically go with a popular prize winner. I read two thirds (increasingly reluctantly) and very much wanted to finish the book but I could not read beyond the calf story in the playground, I had had enough. When we discussed the book at our meeting, it was reassuring to hear I hadn't missed anything significant. Living outside the USA, maybe we missed the point. My reading time is too precious for this style of book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • wfdTamar
    26/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slim pickin's Man Booker year if this won"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Boy, it must have been a rubbish year if this won the Man Booker prize. I found it a precocious, overly wordy, mish mash of thrown together ideas that goes nowhere. The kind of thing that your neighbours young daughter would bring home and you'd have to force yourself to say, "that's amazing honey", through gritted teeth. Or a first year uni students essay chock full of every idea and clever retort they'd learnt or heard. Trying too hard to impress. I got - what I thought was a third of the way through - when it suddenly ended! I thought I must have stopped the recording by mistake, but no, it just stops. Maybe Paul has been on too much of the weed he obviously thinks is so cool. Poor structure, no attempt at resolution of anything. Just a book full of oh so smart remarks.


    Did Prentice Onayemi do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Admittedly a difficult book to read out loud. I did find all the mofo-ing and 'attitude' got in the way of the telling. As well as the ridiculously overly wordy nature of the book. Maybe it would work better read, rather than read out loud.


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea, not in the US (let alone L.A.). Some people obviously like it - but not me. I found the way it was written grating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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