Progressive Graffiti

Faced with Current Reality, How Can Fiction Compete? | The Guardian

Author Lionel Shriver is known for creating characters who are “hard to love.” This is her take on the President-Elect’s potential as a fictional character in a novel: “Donald Trump wouldn’t work on paper.”

Faced with Current Reality, How Can Fiction Compete? (Link)

“Donald Trump wouldn’t work on paper. Obnoxious, crass, boastful and vulgar, with garish tastes and a Stepford wife, as a fictional character he’d seem too crudely drawn. Even in a trashy airport thriller, readers wouldn’t buy such a boor as president. Reviewers would slam the author for artless overkill. (I take that back. This book wouldn’t get reviewed at all.) As a notional construct, Trump wouldn’t fly in satire, either. Parody-proof, he’s too broad to be funny… I can’t be alone among fiction writers in regarding the world, so much weirder than anything we could make up, as beating us at our own game…” ~ Lionel Shriver

About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


  • Fiction cannot compete. We are seeing the worst. Interestingly, since his farewell speech, people have focused on President Obama. Are they trying to cope? There has been a terrible mistake.

  • If I were to write a fiction novel about Trump, it would center around a person who suffers from a serious mental illness. and push it as required reading for prospective health professionals.

  • I have to admit, it’s hard for me to know anything about who he really is given the snippets media reveal to paint him as a bellicose, bilious, bombastic, billionaire buffoon. Perhaps he really is, but given media’s track record for truth-telling, I’m not willing to take them at their word. Still, I don’t think I’d read a book about him. I made the mistake of reading Obama’s book, “Dreams from my father.” I didn’t have a good feeling about voting for him afterwords.

  • Donald Trump is a real person, so if you can’t include him in a story, then perhaps your ability to create characters is not sufficiently complex. In other words, your characters are crude caricatures.

    • You probably have a point. Throughout the entire 2016 Election cycle, I have marveled how “truth is stranger than fiction.” From progressive Dems begging Elizabeth Warren to run, to Lawrence Lessig’s run for Referendum President, to Bernie Sanders’ incredible people-funded campaign, to the undeniable exposure of the DNC rigging the race for Hillary, to the final shocker… President Elect Donald Trump.

      However, I think it could be tempting for a novelist to give a Trump-like character more depth and breadth than the “real Donald Trump” has as an individual. President Elect Donald Trump is fascinating as a phenomenon — like a burst of extreme weather caused by a political climate that is in crisis.

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