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Basket of Deplorables

By Tom Rachman

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Format: Paperback, 224 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 24 August 2017
Almost-true stories for a post-truth worldWrong! Not Nice! Sad!A Manhattan party on election night. Liberal media types gather with big grins and high-end canapes to watch the Trump-Clinton results come in, expecting a smooth victory for Hillary. As the outcome shifts and they descend into panic, the host stands abruptly before her guests, confessing a shocking crime of years before. What follows is a series of witty, cutting, addictive tales of Trump times, portraying Democrats and Republicans in a divided America, from powerful to powerless, angry to thwarted, from a Starbucks barista who dreams of making it on the stage, to a couple whose online date goes bitterly awry, to a charmingly wicked U.S. businessman living undercover in rural Italy. Basket of Deplorables is a timely take on the craziness of today: almost-true fiction for a post-truth world.

About the Author

Born in London and raised in Vancouver, Tom Rachman was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press stationed in Rome, then an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He is the author of two novels, the international bestseller The Imperfectionists; The Rise and Fall of Great Powers and a short stories collection Basket of Deplorables. He lives in London.


Rachman's fictional short stories somehow provide much comfort and understanding in a bonkers era . . . This might well be the first literary example of "When life gives you lemons..." * Emerald Street * The premise is a terrific one . . . Rachman's deft cultural references and his acute skewering of American culture make for uncomfortably precise satire -- Sophie Gilbert * Atlantic * Terrifically good. Just read them in one swoop. * India Knight * Clever wit, sharp observation, and a thread linking them all . . . You'll love this . . . and you'll have a good laugh -- Jon Wise * Sunday Sport * A neat web of morality tales about dating, faking and going online in post-truth America . . . Brilliantly savage and satirical . . . Rather than a basket of deplorables, he gives us a gallery of grotesques, whose comedy rests on the corruption of their communication. Talk is Rachman's medium, and his talkers maintain perfect pitch throughout. -- Frances Wilson * Oldie * Rachman is a clever and compelling writer with a terrific turn of phrase and his finger on the pulse of our fast-changing world. These stories are a pleasure to read from start to finish -- David Herman * Jewish Chronicle * Tom Rachman paints the post-truth world in broad brushstrokes . . . Spry observations of (mostly) larger-than-life characters who represent the angry, bewildered citizens of a divided America -- Eithne Farry * Daily Mail * Diverting and satisfying tales, laced with just the right amount of caustic wit -- Alastair Mabbott * Sunday Herald * Rachman has delivered a survey of contemporary America with a dash of sci-fi that disses liberal snowflakes and triumphalist Trumpsters alike . . . addressing the post-truth world. Rachman is also astute about how dependent we have become on the technology that now feeds us fake news and distraction -- Nick Curtis * i Paper * Rachman's masterful collection provides an early literary look at Trump-era America . . . Slick, entertaining hot takes from a former journalist sacrifice nothing in sophistication despite their speedy turnaround . . . Superbly choreographed . . . These bang-up-to-the-minute stories feel like essential reading as we get to grips with a bizarre new era -- Peter Beech * Guardian * These five linked stories share the same deft characterisation, buoyant wit and imaginative richness of Rachman's lauded novels . . . Prescient and clever and it is a quick and delightful read. -- Nick Curtis * Evening Standard * Inventive and amusing . . . Irresistible, like a blend of Roald Dahl's short fiction, Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror series and David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men . . . Once today's news has become tomorrow's online archive, this will be the one still worth reading -- Claire Lowdon * Times Literary Supplement *

EAN: 9781786488749
ISBN: 1786488744
Publisher: riverrun
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 1.4 centimetres (0.08 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
All Reviews
Marianne Vincent on
Basket of Deplorables is a collection of five loosely connected short stories by American author, Tom Rachman.
Basket of Deplorables: Publisher Roger Peet is renowned for his election night parties, and the usual collection of guests is gathered as the results for Clinton vs Trump roll in. It’s a little different this year, though, because his wife Georgina has now been blind for a year after an accident. Perhaps because of that, or perhaps it would have dawned on her anyway, but she finds these party guests incredibly pretentious and shallow. Passing the time between reports, guests tell of the most shameful thing they’ve ever done, Georgie’s bombshell of a story fails, however, to have the impact she had intended. It might be because everyone is so shocked by the unexpected Trump victory, or it might be that she’s now not only unseeing, but unseen.

Truth is for Losers: After his late (but unpopular) elder brother is lost in a plane crash in the Congolese jungle, Glen is tasked with arranging a memorial service. He follows the suggestion of his boss at Starbucks and hires a troupe of actors to eulogise about his brother for the benefit of his heartbroken mother. Fleming was his mom’s favourite, and she never saw the cruel older brother he was. There’s a neat twist at the end of this one.

Leakzilla: some years post-Trump victory, the world’s email has been hacked and put on public display in a disaster dubbed Leakzilla, from which only the very young, the very old, the very poor and the paranoid were exempt. In his 50’s and getting a bit desperate for a partner, Tim goes on an Honour Date. People who promise not to trawl through their prospective date’s old emails use this site to hook up. But Tim has not been entirely honourable, and what he knows about Nelly Hawes backfires on him. A twist in the tail of this one too.

Sad, Wrong, Not Nice: an American fugitive from the Grand Jury who has faked his own death is hiding out in a village in Southern Italy under the protection of an Italian business man. He is bored out of his mind until his local minder dies and he encounters a Kenyan refugee.

How The End Begins: Law student Kelly Hawes, noting the absence of her local Mexican beggar, tracks him down to the hospital. His prognosis sends her searching the internet, where she happens on a bizarre website that predicts the manner of death for any name typed in. her morbid fascination threatens to overcome her usual positive outlook.

While the tales on their own are clever and topical, what elevates this collection is the links between them, the common elements, the characters cameoing in each other’s tales, the echoes that give the reader that “aha” moment. These satirical stories with their political comment may well be a true reflection of Americans today, but that is perhaps best judged by those closer to the scene. For human relationships and interactions, however, Tom Rachman nails it.
The audio version is expertly narrated by Eduardo Ballerini, Robin Miles, Jonathan Davis, Oliver Wyman and Allyson Johnson.

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