The most comforting dreams are those in which the imagination does not give wings after all: gravity is still reasonably intact, but it only suppresses valid dreams. The new novel by American writer Curtis Sittenfield belongs to the kind of parallel universes that have been altered to a minimum. It talks about a woman everyone thinks they know who remains a mystery: Hillary Clinton.
In Hillary, she imagines a world in which the first woman moves into the White House in January 2017. What comes out of it is the feminist fan imagination. The first third of Curtis Seitenfeld’s novel is based on the true story of young Hillary Rodham, which was codified as a first-person admission of life, and everything that could have happened in her head, including: How she gave her graduation speech at Wellesley as the best graduate of her year, member contradicted The Senate and therefore I am Time Magazine Real estate; How did she come to Yale and fall in love with a classmate in Arkansas, the most charming man around – the one everyone already says will one day become president. The main data is correct. The thoughts Curtis Seettinfeld puts in Hillary’s head naturally go further than anything Hillary Clinton has revealed herself to be.
You can like a book and still feel guilty about reading it
Even as a child, Roman Hillary got used to the fact that she was constantly bullied, not because of what she said, but because she was the one who said it. Did young Hilary Rodham find men love to talk to her, but nothing more? In fact, it is nobody’s business. It might make a big woman more approachable, yeah, but she might approach her, too. You can like a book and still feel guilty about reading it.
The separation of the universes occurred in the mid-1970s. Brilliant attorney Hillary Rodham, who resisted all tempting job offers after graduating from Yale University, pursued college sweetheart Bill to Arkansas, where he ran for a seat in Congress and lost the election. I forgave his infidelities. But months ago, during the campaign, a strange woman in a parking lot told her that she must know that Bill raped her, and she cannot forget. What if this is true? Fictional Hillary rejects Bell’s third marriage proposal and travels to Chicago, where she first becomes a law professor and then moves to the Illinois Senate. Forever Hillary Rodham.
Here’s Sittenfeld’s recipe for turning Hillary into a different person: You took Bill out of the equation. Departure not only changes Hillary’s biography, it changes the world. For Bill Clinton: In “Hillary,” he is definitely not just Philo, but a rapist. Actually this is not very clear. Anyway, here on Earth in 1992, in the middle of the presidential campaign, Bill Clinton’s relationship with Jennifer Flowers opened up, and he interviewed Hillary at his side, which raped her and thus saved his candidacy. Only someone like Hillary Rodham Clinton can sit back and calm down and smile, and say, I love and respect him, and if that wasn’t enough for you, then, damn it, I can’t help you.
In the parallel world of Curtis Sittenfeld, she and her team were on the other side of the screen, watching him come down: Belle married a rather simple young woman from Arkansas because he knew, as a friend explains to Hillary, that she wouldn’t be. It has been replaced – and it simply has no formatting of what it is asked of. Maybe not ambitious either. The fictional wife collapses in tears.
Clinton’s election campaign ended, Bush Sr. won the second election, John McCain later became president, and only with Barack Obama did the world return to the joints we know. As much as possible – after all, a woman after him would become president of the United States and her most important opponent is the very bad loser from Arkansas, Bill Clinton.
This version of Hillary does not betray her ideals. Leaving reality behind, the novel moves back and forth between Hillary’s presidential election campaign and various flashbacks, and it is truly artistry how Sittenfield repeatedly merges small memories of real events. There’s an early companion, African American child rights activist Gwen Greenberger, who she lost in her life path – she was already there; In fiction, the end of that friendship is the episode in which Hillary ultimately fails to understand racism.
Then the big cookie scandal erupted because the American housewife and her conservative friends were so offended in this version of the story that one of the nation’s best lawyers publicly told that bread was nothing to her. But Stephenfield does not exaggerate the dream: the occasional remark of Donald Trump, whose fictional Hillary spoke so cleverly of his candidacy, can be seen that the Iraq war took place after all, even without George Bush Jr. And Vice President Dick Cheney in the White House.
Everything is less terrifying than it actually was
There are some weaknesses in the Curtis Sittingfield build: In order to make fictional Hillary make sense as a character, cuteness is frequently overridden. It is said that Bill, stalking the rest of her life, was the only love – and yet the fictional Hillary never regretted making her decision against him? What a mythical creature in principle.
Most of all, it is not Bill Clinton’s fault alone that Hillary Clinton has left American voters with the impression that Wall Street is closer to Main Street than the common people. Hopefully, as a senator, she has made her own decisions – to support the Iraq War, for example. Would Americans have loved it without Bill? One might suspect that. Perhaps, being the only architect in her career, she could be more threatening.
The fictional Hillary has also been attacked and slandered in the election campaigns and has even been said to have killed her lover. For a world free from misogyny, Curtis Sittenfield’s imagination is not enough. But it’s all less terrifying, and more optimistic than it actually was. Because she wins.
But Bill Clinton is everywhere in this book, when he’s not messing around with your life, he’s on your mind. Sittenfield expects a lot from the sensitivity of her readers: Bill, who plays the saxophone nude, various sex scenes, and an inner monologue about a realistic lack of cellulite. It’s sexy and funny often. Everything reads wonderfully. But since these characters are formed according to real models, they are not only inappropriate, but sometimes quite mean. Is it permissible to write such a book? Maybe not. But if that’s the case – then just right.