Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"The Arrangements" A short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

For months now nearly every piece of fiction I’ve read has a character in it that reminds me of America’s presidential candidate, the infamous Donald Trump, perhaps because he is larger than life. Earlier this year, the New York Times commissioned short stories about the election, and then published this one by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in their newspaper available to read anytime by subscribers. I have just learned that Penguin Random House is publishing an audio version that will available for download October 25th.

Adichie mentioned in an interview that she patterned the story on Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, but my sense of Adichie’s story is far more Shakespearean, or Greek tragedy-ish. (Not having read Mrs. Dalloway recently, perhaps I am missing an obvious parallel.) Adichie makes the Trump women “clever as foxes,” which was my impression as well. Not only do they work hard at their beauty, which anyone with any sense will realize is an obvious advantage they are by now well-skilled at controlling, but they are astonishingly resilient and forgiving, which only comes from understanding, which comes with a certain amount of knowing. Clever as foxes.

I recommend this read or listen for the opportunity to imagine the whole big familial tragedy of Trump’s run for president. Thanks to Adichie to making the effort to add her imagination and skill (and the twist).

The PRH audio version is quite good, getting Melania’s accent down almost perfectly, though the reader, January Savoy, hammers the American accent pretty hard when it comes time for Janelle or Ivanka to speak. Anyway, the whole thing is amusing. You will be surprised at the twist in the story, and it all takes less than a half hour. Check it out.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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