Back on March 17th, the NY Times carried an article announcing the National Book Critics Circle’s awards. Headlining it was Paul Beatty’s 2015 book, The Sellout, as winner of the Fiction Award. I read about this on Saturday, March 19th, on reddit.com. Someone posted the first paragraph (which seems to be missing now), and, given the opening graph and the book being about a sellout, I thought, “This is the book for me.” (See, because I’m desperate to be a sellout.) So I picked up a copy on Sunday, March 20th, and finished reading it on Thursday, March 24th. Halfway through I dropped a line to Canelli about it, and, as far as I know, as of last Friday he was floating somewhere around page 100.
So, basically, I recommend everyone read this book. It’s hilarious and cutting at the same time. It’s just, I don’t know, incredible. Books like this, I love. Beatty knows what he’s doing, and I happily let go of the “critical reigns” as he continuously surprised me over and over again, even late into the book. From a burgeoning writer’s point of view, I love this book because it reminds me that there is a market for people who write the way I aspire to. From a reader’s point of view, it’s insightful satire that short circuits arguments for heavy-handedness by squirming and lashing out like a pissed-off tomcat.