Books by Paul Beatty

THE SELLOUT by Paul Beatty
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 3, 2015

"Another daring, razor-sharp novel from a writer with talent to burn."
The provocative author of The White Boy Shuffle (1996) and Slumberland (2008) is back with his most penetratingly satirical novel yet.Read full book review >
SLUMBERLAND by Paul Beatty
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 2008

"Marvelous."
Beatty's ferociously witty and original third novel (Tuff, 2000, etc.) follows a Los Angeles DJ called Darky, who, having created a revolutionary "perfect beat," heads to late-1980s Berlin to find the obscure, incomparable jazzman known as the Schwa and get him to lay down a track over it. Read full book review >
TUFF by Paul Beatty
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 4, 2000

" The flabby plot is encrusted with jewels on every page. And if the race for city council can barely hold the candidate's attention, that's the punch line of Beatty's richest joke. (First printing of 40,000)"
Beatty follows up the scorched-earth Afro-American satire of The White Boy Shuffle (1996) with an equally antic look at a brother from East Harlem who runs for City Council. Read full book review >
THE WHITE BOY SHUFFLE by Paul Beatty
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 12, 1996

Hip-hop poet Beatty delivers a first novel that almost lives up to its hype. His manic energy and nothing-sacred sensibility add up to some inspired irreverence in a book mocking every sacred cow of Afro-American history. Beatty smartly mythologizes street culture even as he demythologizes so much of official black experience. His narrator, Gunnar Kaufmann, a self-described demagogue and messiah, preaches a nihilistic credo of mass suicide for blacks, an ``Emancipation Disintegration.'' The novel is Gunnar's Monty Pythonish rewrite of Afro-American history, including tales of ancestors who escaped into slavery and leading up to the relative who set up Malcolm X. Gunnar's early years in Santa Monica are a p.c. joke, with everyone massaging his ``tragic negro'' status. When his mom decides to move him to the 'hood, the street-stupid Gunnar learns how to talk black and get down with the homeys. In high school, he becomes a basketball superstar and an aspiring poet with his own posse of like-minded ghetto geeks, including Nicholas Scoby, a fellow basketball star and ace student. When these bros' get down, it means a drive-by arrow-shooting with an operatic soundtrack. Eventually, Nick and Gunnar land scholarships to Boston University, where Gunnar publishes his first book, Watermelanin, which sells millions of copies and makes Gunnar a reluctant spokesman for black America. His message, though, is a Mishima-inspired call for mass suicide and an end to all African-Americans. Along the way in this crazy romp, Beatty mocks Afrocentrism, concerned white liberals, the idea of black leadership, the poetry scene in America, and every iconic figure of Black History month. A wildly inventive debut that veers between spirited brilliance and Def Comedy Jam vulgarity. (Author tour) Read full book review >