In the Arena

Me and O

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The anonymous novel about the President–O–will be hitting the stores in the next few weeks. Quite naturally, because of Primary Colors, I’ve been asked if I’m the author. I’ve even been asked, as Brother Scherer notes below, to express solidarity with the author. Here’s what I’ve said: I didn’t write the book, but that’s what I said last time and that’s what I expect whomever wrote it will say this time. And he/she has a perfect right to say that: Anonymity is a grand literary tradition. One of the first good–but not quite great–American political novels, “Democracy,” was written anonymously by Henry Adams, who got away with it until 3 years after he died (everyone thought his wife wrote it). And so I stand in limited solidarity with the author, at least in my view that he/she has a perfect right to write anonymously–and I celebrate the author’s resurrection of this delectable literary form.

But why limited solidarity? Because I won’t be feeling very charitable if the book is a hatchet-job or crap. If I think so, however, I’ll keep my views to myself because to criticize another author who tried to do the same thing I did would be cheesy. This will also prevent me from commenting on the book favorably, unless there is something spectacularly good, or incredibly smart about politics in it that no one else has noticed.

I’m certainly hoping it’ll prove a good read and that the characters are not caricatures…and that the author will be allowed his or her privacy, if that’s what he/she wants. So I won’t be indulging in any guessing games about who wrote it, either.