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The Sellout

(16 Posts)
HappydaysArehere Wed 26-Oct-16 09:38:32

This is the first year for ages that I have not bought the Booker short list from the Book People. This was because I was underwhelmed by the last two years choices especially The Seven Killings. I read the write ups of all of them this year and bought My Bloody Project and Do Not Say We Have Nothing. Now the winner is The Sellout. Should I buy it? Will I have missed a wonderful literary opportunity? I loved the Luminaries and A Tale For The Time Being. They were in the last batch of choices that I really enjoyed. What do you think? Love to hear.

highlandcoo Wed 26-Oct-16 22:33:20

I've read four of the short-list so far and His Bloody Project and Do Not Say We Have Nothing were the two I most enjoyed.

Still have All That Man Is and The Sellout to read .. so can't help you I'm afraid OP.

HappydaysArehere Thu 27-Oct-16 07:57:09

Thanks highlandcoo. I am enjoying His Bloody Project and looking forward to Do Not Say We Have Nothing. Probably should have bought the six as I usually do. Too late now as Waterstones have benefited due to their loyalty card and stamped card which gave me about £13 to spend and the feeling I am supporting a book shop. The Book people win for value.

hackmum Mon 31-Oct-16 18:30:59

I'm enjoying The Sellout. It's a bit uneven, and some of it I'm not quite sure about because I don't know enough about American race relations to know what's being satisfied. But there are a couple of bits that made me laugh out loud.

hackmum Mon 31-Oct-16 18:31:15

Er, that should be "satirised", not satisfied!

Backingvocals Thu 03-Nov-16 20:25:59

I'm reading it atm. I'm finding it quite hard going although there's lots to enjoy. It's full of energy and intelligence but almost too much iyswim. Every sentence has a point or a reference or a joke. And I'm surprised how many of the references I don't get - not just because I don't know much about African American culture but actually also because I'm not American so there are lots of popular culture references that I can't quite get.

But as hackmum says, there are laugh out loud bits. And although I don't always know exactly what's being satirised, the sense of alienation of very powerful. His characters are alienated without being bleak - they are very vivid but have been cast adrift and they are looking for cultural context and meaning. That sounds totally poncey - sorry! But it is making me realise how much mental health is related to being able to place yourself in a cultural context. I now sound like a total nob so I'll stop grin

HappydaysArehere Wed 09-Nov-16 11:15:07

Thank you for replying hackmum and Backingvocals. (I have been away and there was no wi fi.) Not a nob at all Backing. You have made me interested. I am working my way through Do Not Say We Have Nothing which I am, surprisingly,finding not a particularly easy read but it has poetic undertones. I enjoyed his Bloody Project. Thanks again

SatsukiKusakabe Wed 09-Nov-16 12:09:51

I liked your thoughts on mental health/cultural context backingvocals it's something I've been thinking about (on a small-scale, personal level) recently and you summed it up well. I'm looking forward to reading it when the price comes down on Kindle!

And if the books section isn't a safe space to comment intelligently be a bit poncey, where is? grin

AgentProvocateur Sun 08-Jan-17 13:49:25

I'm glad I found a thread about The Sellout before I started another one.

I really struggled with this book, for all the reasons listed before and more - it was SO satirical that I felt uncomfortable and I didn't see the humour in it.

mmack Sun 08-Jan-17 15:16:03

I read it in a sitting and laughed out loud the whole way through it. He tackled so many serious ideas in a completely effortless way.
I did wonder when reading it if Hominy would be a convincing character if you had never seen The Little Rascals.
I loved the Foy Cheshire versions of the classic novels and I think Beatty was making a timely point about we overprotect our children.

Murine Sun 08-Jan-17 15:53:00

I had to look The Little Rascals up online when I read it! I also felt like a fair bit of it went over my head as I dont have enough knowledge/experience of what was being satirised, and it was quite slow going as a result.

mmack Sun 08-Jan-17 19:16:35

The Little Rascals were on television a lot in in Ireland in the '70s but surely nobody younger than 40 would have seen them. I'm sure that most of the other references went over my head. I'd love to know if Foy Cheshire was based on a real person.

AgentProvocateur Sun 08-Jan-17 19:31:40

I didn't realise the Little Rascals were real. I'm away to do some research (too little, too late...)

Sonotkylie Mon 09-Jan-17 16:37:33

The Little Rascals were real! ... ! I need to process that. I finished it yesterday and struggled a bit for the same reasons as other people and then felt very provincial (fair) - why don't I have the same problem with e.g. Jane Austen? It is an explosive book however and I thought it was well worth the effort and funny where I 'got' it. Thank heavens for looking things up on Kindle! And I studied 20 Century American history at university and thought I would be fine. Shows the difference between study and experience!

hackmum Mon 09-Jan-17 19:32:53

Oh goodness, I assumed the Little Rascals was made up too. That adds a whole new dimension to the book!

But yes, although I enjoyed it, I imagine it would be like an American reading a book set in 70s Britain full of references to Morecambe and Wise, Tiswas and Love Thy Neighbour.

mmack Mon 09-Jan-17 21:52:13

Ireland in the '70s had only one television channel but it seems to have been all American shows. I clearly remember watching The Virginian, The Waltons, the Monroes and many, many westerns but I didn't see any BBC programmes until after 2000 when everyone got satellite.

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