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Description - The White Boy Shuffle by Paul Beatty

Born into a long line of uncle Toms - including an ancestor who escaped into slavery and a relative who set up Malcolm X - Gunnar Kaufman grew up doing the perfect white boy shuffle in Santa Monica. Now the street-stupid kid has to learn - and fast - how to survive the hard-line homeboys of inner-city LA, in one of the funniest, funkiest books for years.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780749394950
ISBN-10: 0749394951
Format: Paperback
(199mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Sep-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The White Boy Shuffle by Paul Beatty

UK Kirkus Review » This is the African-American Catcher in the Rye - a brilliant coming-of-age story whose hard-edged satire will make you wince as much as it will make you laugh. Gunnar Kaufman is the token black kid at his California high school, a straight-A student with parents who have made it their mission to assimilate into the middle classes. But when Gunnar and his sisters move into inner-city LA, it's not long before he's involved in drive-by shooting and gang warfare. Read on to find out how Gunnar manages to become a firebrand messiah, urging his followers to mass suicide... Abrasive, fast-moving and highly entertaining. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Hip-hop poet Beatty delivers a first novel that almost lives up to its hype. His manic energy and nothing-sacred sensibility add up to some inspired irreverence in a book mocking every sacred cow of Afro-American history. Beatty smartly mythologizes street culture even as he demythologizes so much of official black experience. His narrator, Gunnar Kaufmann, a self-described demagogue and messiah, preaches a nihilistic credo of mass suicide for blacks, an "Emancipation Disintegration." The novel is Gunnar's Monty Pythonish rewrite of Afro-American history, including tales of ancestors who escaped into slavery and leading up to the relative who set up Malcolm X. Gunnar's early years in Santa Monica are a p.e. joke, with everyone massaging his "tragic negro" status. When his mom decides to move him to the 'hood, the street-stupid Gunnar learns how to talk black and get down with the homeys. In high school, he becomes a basketball superstar and an aspiring poet with his own posse of like-minded ghetto geeks, including Nicholas Scoby, a fellow basketball star and ace student. When these bros' get down, it means a drive-by arrow-shooting with an operatic soundtrack. Eventually, Nick and Gunnar land scholarships to Boston University, where Gunnar publishes his first book, Watermelanin, which sells millions of copies and makes Gunnar a reluctant spokesman for black America. His message, though, is a Mishimainspired call for mass suicide and an end to all African-Americans. Along the way in this crazy romp, Beatty mocks Afrocentrism, concerned white liberals, the idea of black leadership, the poetry scene in America, and every iconic figure of Black History month. A wildly inventive debut that veers between spirited brilliance and Def Comedy Jam vulgarity. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty is the author of the poetry collections Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce, and the novels Tuff and, most recently Slumberland. He lives in New York.

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