As Election Nears, Novels Get ‘Trump-ified’ Again

Soon after Trump took office in 2017, I wrote a post changing the plots of famous novels to make them about the despicable new U.S. president (aka Liar-in-Chief, Racist-in-Chief, Misogynist-in-Chief…). Today, as Election Day nears on November 3, I’ll do something similar — using titles of some of the novels I’ve read since 2017. I’ll go backwards chronologically, starting with books I’ve finished most recently.

Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: for voting for Trump in 2016.

Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets: in which the Trump family recites “Roses are red/money is green/our corruption and greed/are worse than obscene.”

Wilkie Collins’ No Name: about the impossibility of deciphering Trump’s scrawl of a signature.

Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: because she moved to Canada after Trump was elected.

Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give: Trump never stops giving it. Who says he isn’t philanthropic?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah: America hopefully says “nah” to a second Trump term.

Carolyn Keene’s The Secret of the Old Clock: Nancy Drew investigates why the clock in Trump’s White House is turned back 60 years rather than 60 minutes every November.

Diana Gabaldon’s The Fiery Cross: Non-reader Trump was eager to start this Outlander novel before realizing it didn’t glorify the white-supremacist, cross-burning Ku Klux Klan.

Martin Cruz Smith’s The Siberian Dilemma: which asks whether Trump adores Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin or ADORES Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin.

Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers: if Trump steals a second term and makes all nine Supreme Court justices far-right-wingers, this novel would be renamed Nine Perfect Strangers to Decency.

H. Rider Haggard’s She: the story of a woman almost unimaginably evil. About time there was a novelization of Ivanka Trump’s life.

Lee Child’s Blue Moon: Jack Reacher hopes enough Americans are “good to go” vote “blue” to defeat Trump.

Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network: would’ve been about Fox News if the book were titled The Malice Network.

Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune: what — a second novelization of Ivanka’s life?

Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected: shows Trump and other non-liberal U.S. politicians doing their anti-progressive thing.

John Grisham’s The Racketeer: an alternate history of Trump being a criminal-minded tennis player rather than a criminal-minded golfer.

Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues: about Trump and his fellow Republicans suppressing the vote on Native-American land, among other places.

Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers: Trump and his fellow Republicans do everything they can to seek the continued support of Shell and other oil companies.

James Houston’s The White Dawn: Trump likes it that color any time of the day.

Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool: anyone who sees through swamp increaser Trump’s fake promise to “drain the swamp.”

Janet Evanovich’s Two for the Dough: a Trump-Mitch McConnell buddy book.

Ivan Turgenev’s A House of Gentlefolk: not about any home in which Trump ever lived.

Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient: ironically titled novel about Brits (among other populations) being impatient with Trump’s pathologies.

Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes: people watching Trump approach a podium.

Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood: what Trump would desperately need if he got a transfusion.

Fannie Flagg’s The Whole Town’s Talking: it sounds like that when Trump never shuts up.

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars: when those stars are the Trump family.

Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: much better than the Trump saga Parable of the Sewer.

Donna Tartt’s The Secret History: about Trump cheating on his taxes for decades. Actually, not a secret.

Sue Grafton’s D Is for Deadbeat: about Donald (Trump) stiffing creditors, contractors, towns where he’s made political appearances, etc.

Walter Mosley’s A Red Death: what will hopefully happen to the red-state-oriented Republican Party that has cynically and spinelessly enabled Trump.

Any novels you’d like to “Trump-ify”?

(Thanks to jhNY for recommending The Financial Lives of the Poets — a novel funny and topical enough to partly make up for its unlikable male protagonist. Also, thanks to Mary Kay Fleming for recommending A Man Called Ove author Fredrik Backman, whose My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is a quirky novel about a loner girl, her unusual grandmother, and their sharing of a fantasy world.)

My literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the 2003-started, award-winning β€œMontclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest piece — about a planned return to in-person schooling in my town and a reprieve for a group trying to kill needed local rent control — is here.

88 thoughts on “As Election Nears, Novels Get ‘Trump-ified’ Again

  1. This is to KatLit, we miss you in here if you are reading this.
    We miss your awesome posts, now trump got what he was asking for.

    Time the World will look up to us again. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent column Dave, John Grisham’s The Racketeer, when the table turned after an innocent Back Lawyer went to jail and then in the end he turned to tables on the real culprit. Also Grisham’s latest Camino Winds ends up being a suspense Novel when the real criminal surfaced.

    How about now with President elect Joe Biden, I know He was not your choice but now he is acting as a true American President being classy, dignified to whom the World will look up to.
    Trump does not know what loyalty means, I am waiting for Moscow Mitch to tell him to pack and leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, bebe! “The Racketeer” is a terrific novel, with a surprise ending I didn’t see coming. Very glad you recommended it a year or two ago!

      Yes, I definitely preferred Bernie Sanders in the primaries, but Biden is indeed acting like a decent human being as the election results slowly come in while Trump is being his usual ultra-repugnant/big-liar self.

      And you’re right that Moscow Mitch will at some point probably tell Trump to give it up. Trump has already served McConnell’s purposes — tax cuts for the rich, three far-right Supreme Court justices, etc. Plus Mitch will most likely still be Senate Majority Leader, trying to block everything a Democratic president and House attempt to do. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy to see you read “Financial Lives of the Poets”, which remains one of my favorite titles ever, so much so that I was inspired to make up a fictitious fiction title: “The Poet’s Abode” by Garret Leaky.

    I did not find the main character unlikable, though he was reliably weak and ever-ready to take the quickest and the seemingly easy way out, which invariably wasn’t. And I did like the author’s newsroom under the shadow of cutbacks and lay-offs, which seemed familiar to me, though in my case the only similarity was the atmosphere of suppressed rage, genial treachery and ill-concealed fear, as I was in another business altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, jhNY, a superb title! The novel’s protagonist did have some redeeming qualities — one of them being an awareness that he was making a number of bad decisions even as he couldn’t stop himself from making those bad decisions. πŸ™‚ And, yes, the deteriorating newsroom situations around the time of “The Great Recession” (as vividly delineated in the novel) sounded VERY familiar. I was living it back then. The layoffs, etc. 😦

      “The Poet’s Abode” by Garret Leaky — excellent!!!

      Like

      • I like making fictitious fiction titles. Here a few, which I hope raise a smile:

        “It’s For You” by Isabel Tolling
        “Leave Us, Knave” by Begonia Varlet
        “Barnyard Romance” by Rube Metcalf

        and for those unfearful of symmetry–

        “Robbing Banks” by Hanover D. Cash
        “Hand Over the Cash” by Robin Banks

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Celine’s “Journey to the End of the Night”– the title could be repurposed to describe MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki’s seemingly inexhaustible endurance over the seemingly interminable election day, now 96 hours old and counting, and in some places and cases, recounting.

    I expect he will be announcing the final results from a cot behind the big board, hoarsely and supine.

    O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is now unlikely to come into play, as that title is reserved for the possible occasion of Trump’s re-election to the presidency, although there’s still a chance the Supreme Court might contrive its own version of Daylight Ending Time by setting the national clock back to 2000.

    At which point James Fox’s title “White Mischief” could take on new appropriateness, as an egregious example of appropriation, Thomas, the minority, throwing in with the majority. And Ron Stallworth has a title for that– “BlacKkKlansman”, throwing out the irony the second time around, which is once around too many for the country, however insistently Trump demands one, the voters be damned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, jhNY! Very well written, with great riffs on various titles of books and such! “White Mischief” is particularly descriptive of what Trump and his fellow white supremacists are guilty of. For them, “Mischief Night” is 365 days a year (366 during Leap Years). And they of course do “Mischief Day,” too.

      Like

  5. There isn’t anything I can add to the list, but The Lord Of The Flies is a good one. Next up is the Financial Lives Of The Poets is going to be a book that will be right up my alley to get later this month. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Don!

      I agree — “Lord of the Flies” really works for something like this.

      As I wrote near the end of the post, I had mixed feelings about “The Financial Lives of the Poets.” But it had its moments. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks Dave! Trump is Trump. He’s going to be a sore loser. I’d like to think that I contributed something to society in regards to the swamp from 8 years ago. I didn’t start hearing it until about 5 years ago in the media. So the poem had a lot of travel on the internet. People were able to see the metaphor and identified with it. I will tell you that swamp animal doesn’t come from me as it comes from Bukowski. I took that as a pull from him and spun my own creation. I was born in Geneva PA and it is the home of the swamp. So that makes me a mighty politician. Writing can be a dirty job.

            Liked by 1 person

            • On Fri, 6 Nov 2020, 10:46 pm Dave Astor on Literature, wrote:

              > doncarroll commented: “Thanks Dave! Trump is Trump. He’s going to be a > sore loser. I’d like to think that I contributed something to society in > regards to the swamp from 8 years ago. I didn’t start hearing it until > about 5 years ago in the media. So the poem had a lot of trave” >

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello!
    Your blogs are amazing
    I have nominated you for ‘The Black Cat Blue Sea Award’.
    Please check my latest post on site ‘MY BEST VISION IN WORDS’.
    mybestvisioninwords.wordpress.com.
    (Sorry I couldn’t provide link ,my apologies to you)
    -Aishwarya Meti

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the nomination, Aishwarya Meti! And I enjoyed seeing your three answers in the post on your excellent blog. Reading and blogging are among my favorite activities, too. πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. During this troubled time, you made me smile. Thanks. BTW, one of my favorite Trump books is “Trump’s ABC” written and illustrated by Ann Telnaes, a cartoonist for the Washington Post. It’s a child’s board-book, with heavy cardboard pages, with super illustrations and rhyming text that will make adults laugh. Thanks for sharing this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words, thatfoodguy62! And great that you mentioned Ann Telnaes, an immensely talented cartoonist and animator who I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing a number of times when I covered cartooning for a magazine. She, of course, has a low opinion of Trump — an opinion he totally deserves.

      Like

  8. Dave, I feel the story was already written in 1896 by Ingersoll Lockwood. 1900: Or; The Last President. (You can find free on-line texts of this novella.) Regarding our vitriolic political climate, it’s safe to say, my traditional rose-colored glasses haven’t been able to overcome my recent jaundiced eye towards propaganda and pandering, pontificating and prevarication. Phew! May God have mercy on all of us…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mary Jo! I hadn’t heard of “1900: Or; The Last President” until seeing your comment, but it does sound like one of those books that was at least partly prescient.

      And, yes, it’s hard to look at the current political climate with rose-colored glasses. Things are just too fraught and hateful and depressing — with, in my opinion, forces on the right mostly to blame. Meanwhile, I have to admire that alliteration of yours: “…propaganda and pandering, pontificating and prevarication. Phew!” — genius!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Let’s close the book on the Liar and Chief! After election results are tabulated (who knows how long it may take) I’ll be in a better state of mind to Frumpify a book. Rump does not read,anyway. His attention span is of a gnat.

    Joe Biden is an open book of kindness and empathy. His actions speak volumes. Chapter and verse,Joe will help us all turn a page to have faith that our country will start to unite from devisifness and be able to have optimism for healing from this endless pandemic.πŸ˜”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Michele! “Let’s close the book” on Trump — great line! I really, really hope the election is decided Tuesday night. Unlikely, but what a relief it would be to not watch Trump try to steal a “victory” in real time over the ensuing days or weeks.

      And that was a funny gnat reference, though I’d wager a gnat’s attention span beats Trump’s. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. How about:

    John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces: Trump’s “Base.”

    William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (Nothing more need be said, sadly.)

    Ian McEwen’s Atonement: Trump’s Day of Reckoning

    Gregory McGuire’s Wicked (Again, nothing more need be said.)

    Liked by 4 people

      • Thanks, Dave. When those numbers really hit me was when someone compared the number of Covid deaths with the number of US soldiers killed in Vietnam: a little over 58,000. The fact that he is holding super spreader events in the worst-hit states puts him in the sociopath category to me.

        Liked by 2 people

        • That comparison IS devastating, Liz, made even more so by the fact that Covid deaths have been happening in less than a year while the Vietnam War lasted for years.

          And, yes, Trump continuing to hold super-spreader campaign events — with people in the audience closely packed, and many not wearing masks because Trump and other far-right Republicans turned mask-wearing into a culture war — is indeed totally sociopathic. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hospitals in some “battleground states” are already operating under battlefield conditions with tents and supplemental morgues. I hate to think what’s going to happen when people start getting sick from the super spreader campaign events.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Sadly, so true, Liz. Hospitals are getting overwhelmed again, as in the spring. And weary doctors, nurses, and other health-care people have to deal with the fallout of this Trump-rally irresponsibility and risk getting sick themselves. And of course almost no sick person can get the β€œCadillac”/100%-government-paid care Trump received when he had Covid.

              Liked by 1 person

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