Be­yond skin deep

> Amer­i­can au­thor Paul Beatty has won the Man Booker Prize for his elec­tri­fy­ing satir­i­cal novel about race re­la­tions

The Sun (Malaysia) - - THE RIGHT READ -

seg­re­ga­tion in the lo­cal high school as a means of bring­ing about civic or­der.

The judges said that “the frame­work of in­sti­tu­tional racism and the un­just shoot­ing of Bon­bon’s fa­ther at the hands of po­lice are par­tic­u­larly top­i­cal”. Beatty said read­ers should think of the novel as a work of fic­tion rather than solely fo­cus­ing on race. “I tend to bris­tle when peo­ple say it’s black, it’s an­gry, it’s about race,” he told jour­nal­ists af­ter pick­ing up the award at a glitzy black-tie cer­e­mony in Lon­don’s his­toric Guild­hall build­ing. “Hope­fully, it’s not so mono-di­rec­tional.” The 54-year-old writer added: “These la­bels are more mal­leable than we like to think about them.” Beatty ap­peared over­whelmed when he took to the stage to re­ceive the award from Prince Charles’ wife Camilla.

“I can’t tell you guys how long a jour­ney this has been for me,” he said.

As a win­ner of the Man Booker, Beatty will re­ceive £52,500 (RM275,057), although the real prize is the huge sales prompted the mo­ment judges an­nounce their de­ci­sion.

The jury said that through his “equally af­fec­tion­ate and bit­terly ironic por­trait of the city and its in­hab­i­tants, Paul Beatty dodges in­her­ited views of race re­la­tions, so­lu­tions or as­sump­tions”.

The au­thor “presents through his be­guil­ingly hon­est and well-in­ten­tioned hero an in­no­cent’s view of his cor­rupt world”, the jurors added, bring­ing “the un­en­durable sta­tus quo of present-day US race re­la­tions to an ab­sur­dist con­clu­sion”.

The Sell­out is Beatty’s fourth novel. Ear­lier this year, he won the Na­tional Book Crit­ics Cir­cle Award in the US. – AFP

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