Bustin’ up the Chiffarobe

Alex Abramovich

  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty
    Farrar, Straus, 288 pp, £17.00, March 2015, ISBN 978 0 374 26050 7

The pure products of America go crazy, William Carlos Williams wrote, but he was only half right: America’s crazy, and so sometimes its pure products go sane. Consider the eponymous narrator of Paul Beatty’s novel The Sellout. When we first meet him, in the Supreme Court’s ‘cavernous chambers’, the sellout’s hands are cuffed behind his back. His right to silence ‘long since waived’, he sits in a ‘thickly padded chair that, much like this country, isn’t quite as comfortable as it looks’. ‘This may be hard to believe, coming from a black man,’ he says,

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