Beatty became the first American author to win the award with The Sellout, a caustic satire on US racial politics. It was a unanimous decision by the judges, who praised the book's "savage wit" - comparing his writing to Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift - and called it a "novel for our times," particularly in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The novel's protagonist, a young African American brought up on the outskirts of Los Angeles by a single father, is only known to the reader by his last name: Me. When his father is accidentally shot dead in a shootout, Me initiates the most outrageous action conceivable by attempting to reinstate slavery and segregate the local high school; a course of action that ultimately lands him in the Supreme Court. This biting satire that explores America’s tortured relationship with race relations never pulls its punches and is very, very funny.
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Running time: 90 minutes, no interval.
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