Paul Beatty, 52, has just published “The Sellout” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), his fourth novel and first in seven years. Blistering on the past and present of race in America, it spares no person or piety. Dwight Garner, in his review in The New York Times, wrote that the first third of the novel “reads like the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.”

“The Sellout” is set in Dickens, a semi-agrarian section of southern Los Angeles. The narrator’s father, a psychologist, radically experiments on his son. At one point, he mugs his child in public to measure the empathy of bystanders. (They join in the mugging.) The father is eventually killed by the police after a routine traffic stop, and the narrator grows up to be an urban farmer and mad social scientist. In the prologue, he tells us he is being tried in the United States Supreme Court for reintroducing segregation to his town, and for owning a slave — an elderly man named Hominy Jenkins, who was Buckwheat’s understudy on “The Little Rascals” decades ago and who now insists on being the narrator’s property. (Hominy is a fictional creation.)

For the complete article, visit The New York Times.com/Books.

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