It’s a little hard to believe that anyone could write a satirical story about Donald Trump, whose behavior is so far over the top that he would seem immune to satire. Yet that’s exactly what San Francisco literary phenomenon Dave Eggers has done in The Captain and the Glory. Unlike Christopher Buckley and other well-established political satirists, Eggers doesn’t pretend to create believable characters. Somehow, “the Captain” of this satirical novel about Donald Trump manages to be even more outrageous than the man himself.
When the beloved Admiral who commands the ship Glory retires from the scene, there’s an election to replace him. Many of the passengers decide to shake things up by voting for a ne’er-do-well who has volunteered for the job without any discernible qualifications. “In their eyes . . . this new captain was candid and unvarnished. And because he didn’t know how to spell, and had no taste or manners or filter or shame or sense of what was true and what was false — because he was unscripted and when he told lies — he was the most honest captain they’d ever known.”
The Captain and the Glory by Dave Eggers (2019) 128 pages @@@@ (4 out of 5)
Of course, the new captain does shake things up. He and the gorgeous daughter he lusts after methodically fire the crew and toss ever-larger numbers of “Certain People” overboard. All of which proves only a prelude to a visit by the “Pale One,” who no doubt speaks Russian, who boards the ship with his gang and proceeds to loot everything not nailed down as well as many things that were. In the end, the Glory is left literally rudderless and dead in the water. Which, of course, should have been no surprise to those who elected him, but wasn’t.
About the author
Dave Eggers has written five books of nonfiction, eleven novels, four short story collections, five books of humor, five screenplays, and four books for young readers, and he’s won a slew of awards for his efforts. Somehow, though, he’s also found time to establish and run a publishing house (McSweeney’s) that issues several periodicals and start 826 Valencia, a now-national nonprofit that tutors kids 8-18 in writing. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, novelist Vendela Vida, and their two children. Oh, and the multi-talented Eggers has also distinguished himself as both an artist and a musician.
For further reading
For another parody of the man in the Oval Office, see Make Russia Great Again by Christopher Buckley (Satirizing Donald Trump is a tall order).
In addition to this satirical novel about Donald Trump, I’ve reviewed four other books by Dave Eggers:
- Zeitoun (Life in the maelstrom of Hurricane Katrina)
- A Hologram for the King (Dave Eggers goes to Saudi Arabia and finds a desert)
- Heroes of the Frontier (No heroes on this frontier)
- The Monk of Mokha (Another superior example of Dave Eggers nonfiction)
If you prefer reading factual treatments of Donald Trump and his Administration, check out The top 5 books about Donald Trump and his impact on American democracy.
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- Top 10 nonfiction books about politics (plus dozens of runners-up)
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- My 10 favorite funny novels (plus dozens of runners-up)
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