The Sellout – Paul Beatty
Mission Accomplished :)!!
Speech Time – As the year and the target was coming to a close, I wanted to make it special by reading a special book and one of my very good friend hijacked my special book – so I picked up the second best – yet it worked out to be one of the best I have / had ever read in the past. This or rather these (Booker Books) came highly recommended from a very close Non Reliable Indian (NRI) friend and even I wanted to explore the winners as well as nominee’s for quite a while. Fortunately this is the first American book and writer ever to win a Man Booker Prize hence it was special in lots of ways. Also, I’ve been a Quentin Tarantino fan for my entire life, love the black humor (may not get it 100% but whatever) and I love “Samuel L Jackson” kind of stuff – this book in its entirety is full of that – I did lose the count after first two chapters as how many times he indeed used the word “Nigger”. This book is actually a great example of “How to call a spade a spade”. On your face truth told in a most blatant way possible with no care in the world – I am sure he didn’t write this to garner the kind of attention he actually got with this book but as I finished the first couple of chapters – I can very well assume where it was going and it is indeed MIND-BLOWING. And I have no doubts in saying that It must have made a lot of sense to Americans specially the Black Americans of todays time and last few generations to others like us – its a journey that we have seen and heard of quite times but is still fantastic in a new light.
A very simple story of a Nigger whisperer (a person who talks to a black man in distress for no reward or return) and his son who again becomes a Nigger whisperer when the original is shot and left to die. Neither the dad nor the son has ever done anything wrong in their lives – other then the things a black does and is not considered wrong like weed, dope, pot, live in a ghetto, sex and those pointless things, yet they pay the price – the father does by losing his life for no reason and son is about get screwed in the Supreme Court of US of A – The Charge? keeping a slave in 21st century. It all happens in a small town of “Dickens” near LA (California) when suddenly the town vanishes from the world map and is no more considered an incorporated city. How life is in Dickens of mostly black people and how they have come out of slavery for so many decades yet are they really out of it? makes up for the rest of the story. I totally loved the way it is narrated, totally awesome eye popping references that they actually took me at least two to three decades back in life. I cant claim that all the references worked for me as I hardly know anything about the American culture but yes one or the other kept popping which did made a lot of sense to me. The movies, artists, cartoons (who haven’t seen “The Little Rascals” – it covers a major part of the story). Why the title and the lead character is called “The Sellout” too is a story in itself – check it out.
If I had read this book before it got the Booker – I would have surely said that it ain’t gonna get it based on its language and uses of words and references to various human body parts in a typical Nigger way. I am sure the full-time critics may have found it offensive too but as I said earlier – it is what it is so why pretend to be something else? Also, this is one of those very few books that I have read in the recent past which sets up the things in the very initial stages in such a way that you are actually hooked to it – the ending isn’t unpredictable and I could very well guess it but it isn’t a suspense thriller anyways. With hardly a little more then 200 pages – it isn’t a easy read but a breeze I will say specially the way it progresses.