With President Trump and America’s far-right-Republican-controlled Congress changing everything for the worse (trying to yank away medical insurance, gut environmental regulations, lower taxes on the rich, etc.), it’s only a matter of time before the content of past novels changes to more accurately reflect what’s currently going on. Here’s what we might see:
— John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces becomes the story of today’s vile GOP politicians.
— Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls becomes the biography of House and Senate leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.
— Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping becomes the saga of Republicans trying to retain control of the House via gerrymandering and suppression of Democratic votes.
— Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness becomes the story of Vice President Mike Pence.
— Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter becomes the tale of dad-enabler Ivanka Trump’s rise.
— Toni Morrison’s Beloved becomes about the admirable people who oppose Trump, Ryan, McConnell, and their GOP ilk.
— Henry James’ Washington Square becomes a confirmation that the far right now in DC is just plain un-hip.
— Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country becomes a description of the custom of many lower-income whites in rural areas (“the country”) to vote against their self-interest for the cater-to-the-rich Trump.
— George Orwell’s 1984 becomes about the IQ Trump thinks he has (but doesn’t).
— (Ms.) Lionel Shriver’s Big Brother becomes an Orwellian novel rather than a book about an obese sibling.
— Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses becomes Trump’s self-published book of bawdy limericks.
— Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood becomes a list of all the lies flowing out of Trump’s mouth in 2017. Annual sequels to follow.
— Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things becomes an anatomical look at Trump’s small fingers and his small…
— Willa Cather’s Shadows on the Rock becomes the story of how Trump and his expanding waistline loom over Melania’s huge wedding ring.
— Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 becomes about the first 22 law-abiding, hard-working undocumented immigrants the Trump administration cruelly nabs and deports.
— Colette’s The Shackle becomes the description of a prison device Trump wants to use on innocent Muslims.
— Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind becomes about climate change melting polar ice and causing various species to become extinct.
— Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano becomes about the coolest place to huddle after climate change worsens.
— Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire becomes the story of the all-white, cross-burning Ku Klux Klan that enthusiastically supports Trump and other GOP leaders.
— Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude becomes a treatise on the length and type of prison sentence deserved by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
— James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain becomes the story of Mount Rushmore’s four sculpted heads getting so disgusted with Trump that they actually speak.
— Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale becomes speculative fiction about anticipating the day Trump leaves or gets kicked out of the White House.
— Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea and Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy become the go-to collections of our physiological and verbal reactions to today’s far-right GOP rule.
Any novels with new meanings you’d like to add to my list? Would love to see them!
Here’s a review of, and a video interview about, my new literary-trivia book Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.
In addition to this weekly blog, I also write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com, which covers Montclair, N.J., and nearby towns. The latest weekly column is here.