The Man Booker Prize 2016
Paul Beatty's The Sellout
The discussions have been had, the votes are in and the verdict has been reached we’re delighted to confirm Paul Beatty and his razor-edged satire The Sellout as its worthy victor.
Taking no prisoners in its heady exhumation of African-American culture, the Supreme Court beckons as ‘Me’ – the African American protagonist at the novel’s core – audaciously sets about re-establishing slavery in a dying district of Los Angeles. With a wild, deeply moral wit that has borne comparison to Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the eager spyglass of Beatty misses nothing in his systematic exhumation of contemporary cultural totems. Referred to as ‘viscerally engaging’ by Bill Broun in the Times Literary Supplement, The Sellout has been something of a critical juggernaut in the States, widely regarded as a properly unflinching benchmark of its kind.
There’s no doubt that this year’s Man Booker almost immediately and consciously eschewed the established for a rather courageous selection of new writing, acknowledging the progression that must sit at the heart of any medium. The Sellout – in all its blazing, anarchic glory – confirms that the novel is, even now, an evolving, exciting form, and that Beatty is just the author to lead the charge for that change.
The Sellout is available to purchase either online at Waterstones.com or at your local Waterstones bookshop and in our exclusive Q&A interview online you can discover what sets apart a truly great writer. We heartily congratulate Paul on his victory and hungrily anticipate what his future as a writer may bring.
The Man Booker Prize Shortlist 2016
Giants such as two-time Booker winner J.M. Coetzee and sometime Booker judge A.L. Kennedy missed out on the 2016 shortlist meaning the field was blasted open to reveal an intensely even-handed field ripe for intense speculation.
Sofia is in her mid-twenties and adrift, a half-Greek graduate of anthropology who finds herself suspending her doctorate to care for her paralysed mother.
Surrounded by an assembly of bizarre incident and strange, needful characters, Sofia’s fractured sense of self is hypnotically realised by Levy’s knowing prose.
Period authenticity and language course through Burnet’s gripping 1869 tale of triple murder in remote Wester Ross.
Through a series of found documents, Burnet skilfully sets out a brilliantly-interleaved narrative of persecution and murder, evoking what the Sunday Herald termed a ‘tour de force… Stevensonian.’
‘This is the story of how I disappeared.’ The eponymous Eileen arrives fully-formed and filled with contradictory self-loathing in Moshfegh’s first novel after her debut novella McGlue in 2014.
A future, now elderly, Eileen looks back on her twenty-something self, trapped by small-town
The crisis of the European male forms the spine of Szalay’s loosely-connected series of nine tales which comprise his fourth novel.
For each tale a man, and for each man a largely unsolvable set of brooding uncertainties, staged across Europe in a timely state of dislocation. ‘It is one of the many ironies of his work that it brings a sensory richness to the bleak and the drab.’ – The Daily Telegraph
Thien’s ambitious novel tracks China from the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949 through to the present day.
Three musical prodigies from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music provide the story’s emotional heft, their pursuit of excellence providing their impetus through often harrowing shifts in the cultural landscape.
‘It is a highly suspenseful drama… measured, intoxicating and tragic.’ – The Financial Times
Beatty’s caustic satire on racial debate takes no prisoners in its heady exhumation of African-American culture; the Supreme Court beckons as ‘Me’ – the novel’s central character – sets about re-establishing slavery in a dying district of Los Angeles.
‘…Daring and abrasive… a joy to read,’ – The Guardian
The Man Booker Longlist 2016
A healthy mix of the established (including one two-time Booker winner) and those new to the fray pave the way toward a fascinating longlist. In the words of our fiction buyer Chris White, ‘'I couldn't argue with the inclusion of any of the books I've read and that makes me all the more eager to read the others. I can't wait to see what appears on the shortlist. There's a special place in my heart for My Name is Lucy Barton but the field seems more open than ever and I wouldn't be surprised to see any of these novels make the final cut.’