If writers have one reason to rejoice in Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential election, it’s that he’s revived the book publishing business. That’s Alex Sheppard’s opinion. (“It Takes a Pillage,” by Alex Sheppard, New Republic, Aug/Sept 2017 pgs. 12-13.) Frankly, I’m not as sanguine. If I am faced with another Donald Trump saga, headline or tweet, my head will spin like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist. Despite my aversion, however, it does appear the public can’t get enough of Trump’s antics. His book, The Art of the Deal faded from bookshelves until his election. Now, the title has soared to the top of the charts, selling more than 74,000 copies since the beginning of this year. (Ibid pg. 13.)
Not only has the president benefitted by his election to office, so have authors of related works. His six months reign has fostered renewed interest in dystopian novels, for example. Margaret Atwood’s, Handmaid’s Tale escaped her publisher’s back list to rise once again to the national best seller list. This ripple effect takes us back even further in time. Long in his grave, George Orwell’s 1984 has sold 200,000 since the election. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World isn’t far behind.
Biographies about our president are also thriving. When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay pitched his Trump book prior to the race, he found no takers. Now The Making of Donald Trump has sold over 30,000 copies and has survived 4 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. Even Alec Baldwin, actor and Trump impersonator, has plans for an upcoming book: You Can’t Spell American Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump.
How does one escape the ubiquitous Donald Trump? His shadow falls across so many genres: biography, autobiography, fantasy, dystopian novels, mystery. intrigue, spy thrillers, satire… There seems to be no place of refuge.
Oh! But of course. I have it. Realism.