The Man Booker has announced its 2016 winner today. Selected from 6 shortlisted authors, Paul Beatty‘s The sellout has won this year’s The Man Booker Prize, the first American writer to win the Man Booker prize, for a caustic satire on US racial politics that judges said put him up there with Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift.
From the judging panel:
“The Sellout is one of those very rare books: which is able to take satire, which is a very difficult subject and not always done well, and plunges it into the heart of contemporary American society with a savage wit of the kind I haven’t seen since Swift or Twain.”
“It manages to eviscerate every social taboo and politically correct nuance, every sacred cow. While making us laugh, it also makes us wince. It is both funny and painful at the same time.”
From the publisher Oneworld:
Born in the ‘agrarian ghetto’ of Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles and raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realises there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-through funeral.
Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident – Hominy Jenkins – he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school which lands him in the Supreme Court.
What follows is a remarkable journey that challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement and the holy grail of racial equality – the black Chinese restaurant.
The other shortlisted titles are:
Deborah Levy (UK) Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton)
Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) His Bloody Project (Contraband)
Ottessa Moshfegh (US) Eileen (Jonathan Cape)
David Szalay (Canada-UK) All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape)
Madeleine Thien (Canada) Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books)
City of Parramatta Library has all the titles for loan.