Beatty's reliance on so many textured backstories and secondary characterizations feels both revelatory and absolutely intentional ... The Sellout while riding beneath terrifying waves of American racial terror and heteropatriarchy, is among the most important and difficult American novels written in the 21st century ... It is a bruising novel that readers will likely never forget.
...[a] howl-a-page assault on the pieties of race debates in America ... [an] outrageous, hilarious and profound novel ... No writer since Tom Wolfe in his Bonfire of the Vanities years has such an eye for social farce ... Beatty plays for very high stakes — but he wins ... [a] beautiful and weirdly poignant book.
The first 100 pages The Sellout are the most caustic and the most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I’ve read in at least a decade...like the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility ... Broad satirical vistas are not so hard for a novelist to sketch. What’s hard is the close-up work, the bolt-by-bolt driving home of your thoughts and your sensibility. This is where Mr. Beatty shines ... The Sellout I am sad to say, falls into a holding pattern in its final two-thirds. Mr. Beatty still writes vividly, and you’re already up there at 30,000 feet. But the sense of upward thrust is mostly absent.