17 April, 2021

‘It’s Like Seeing An American Apparition Take This Job’

This year's Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty on 'The Sellout' and today's America-- unflinching and brutal...

Photograph by Sanjay Rawat
‘It’s Like Seeing An American Apparition Take This Job’

This year’s Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty’s The Sellout has variously been described as satire, a dystopian parable, an inscrutable tome (18 publishers rejected the manuscript). It’s all that and more, but it is essentially a mirror thrust before today’s America, unflinching and brutal. Beatty is in India, his first time, as part of the Jaipur Literary Festival. He spoke to Satish Padmanabhan. Excerpts from the interview.

A new president is being sworn-in in your country, and you are here, 10,000 miles away?

It feels good actually. Being there you lose track because everything is so Ame­rican-centric. I am glad I am not there in a weird way, to pretend that you are distant from the process. This is not like when Obama was elected, when I said I have to be there, but this about this other groundswell of things that have been happening for a long time. It’s hard to even talk about because there is nothing there. It’s like seeing an American apparition...

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