Paul Beatty was named as the winner of the 2016 Man Booker Award for his novel The Sellout. He is the first American to win the award.
Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens―on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles―the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.
Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident―the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins―he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
For summaries of the six finalists, go to http://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/2016/09/2016-man-booker-shortlist.html.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, worth £50,000, is open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the U.K. between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016.