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Howard Jacobson is a writer of real wit and a spinner of fabulous yarns; this satire is a great example of his writing.
Anyone who has been bewildered by or flabberghasted at the election of Donald Trump in the USA will recognise this novel as a thinly-disguised expose of Trump, set in a mythical republic, with all the usual suspects involved in 2016's presidential election present, including the eastern european influences and the much too intelligent, female activist who is subject to various campaigns to undermine and denigrate her.
Prince Fracassus is the main protagonist here and inhabits a world of extreme wealth, tall buildings, dodgy businessman and fawning politicians. He is not too clever, a situation exacerbated by a childhood and youth spent watching porn and violence on whatever screens he can get hold of. His mother tries hard, and fails, to get him to read books. The end result is a man with complete lack of respect for women,stunted intelligence, immoral stances on just about everything and a limited vocabulary. Attempts by tutors to improve his education meet with poor results and Fracassus remains a dullard whose favourite words are pussy and classy and who has a huge respect for the antics and actions of Imperial Rome's Emperor Nero.
Fracassus is the invention of a powerful mind and an active imagination and the whole novel passes off with a confident swagger. Jacobsen has maybe even out-Trumped Trump with Fracassus
Read it and weep at the idiocy of the political world and how easily duped ordinary folk can be.
Bravo, Mr. Jacobson.
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