The Sellout, signed by Paul Beatty, 1st/1st, 2016
This is a fine copy of Paul Beatty's 'The Sellout', signed by the author in first edition, first printing. Oneworld, 2016, London. The cover is bright and with minimal shelfwear, with attractive graphics. The textblocks are free from discolouration, without foxing, but features an incredibly slight mark on the side. The book is free from previous owner's ink, aside from that of the author. Overall this is in fine condition.
The story begins with the narrator (referred to as either “me” or “Bonbon”) standing trial before the Supreme Court for crimes related to his attempt to restore slavery and segregation in his hometown of Dickens, an “agrarian ghetto” on the outskirts of Los Angeles, California. Sitting before the court, Bonbon starts to reflect on what led up to this moment and recounts his upbringing. Bonbon had a tenuous relationship with his father, an unorthodox sociologist who performed numerous traumatizing social experiments on him as a child and held lofty expectations for Bonbon to become a respected community leader in Dickens. A few years before the Supreme Court case, Bonbon’s father is murdered by the police, and an ambivalent Bonbon struggles to find his purpose in life. At first, Bonbon is content to withdraw from the community and continue his agricultural endeavors of growing artisanal watermelons and marijuana without his father’s judgement. One day, however, the town of Dickens spontaneously disappears from the map and becomes unincorporated, a change that Bonbon attributes to Dickens’ undesirable socioeconomic and racial demographics. Bonbon sets out to restore Dickens’ existence through any means possible. Bonbon enlists the help of Hominy Jenkins, an old man and former child actor, to paint provocative road signs and boundary lines that draw attention to Dickens’ existence. After those attempts are fruitless, Bonbon continues a step further and attempts to reinstitute both slavery and segregation in Dickens and bring back what he believes to be a unifying power structure in the town. He first attempts to re-segregate a public bus driven by his ex-girlfriend by posting “white-only signs” in the front of the bus. He later tries to open an all-white school next to the local high school. Meanwhile, Hominy offers to become Bonbon’s slave, to which a reluctant Bonbon eventually agrees. As the absurdity of Bonbon’s actions are noticed on a wider scale, Hominy causes a large accident that ultimately leads to the supreme court case.