Rachel Greenwald Smith

  • fiction August 04, 2021

    Selling Out

    Perhaps it is the contemporary tension around the concept of selling out that has made so many recent works of fiction deal with the question of their own economic conditions of possibility, their marketing, and their commodification explicitly within their pages. One of the clearest examples of this is Percival Everett’s 2001 novel Erasure. The protagonist of Erasure is an experimental novelist, Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, who is dismayed by the outsize success of a novel entitled We’s Lives in da Ghetto. Monk sees this book as cynical attempt to give the white public a story of Black experience