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