Howard Jacobson pens Pussy satire in rage over Trump

Howard Jacobson pens Pussy satire in rage over Trump

Jonathan Cape is publishing novelist Howard Jacobson's retort to Donald Trump's US presidential victory in a "ferociously funny" fairy tale for grown-ups, telling the story of how a boastful dunce becomes the leader of the free world. 

Pussy was written by the former Man Booker prize-winner in the immediate aftermath of Trump's victory in November, when the UK book trade reacted with "dismay" to the result. According to Cape, it came about "in the white heat of rage and disbelief" and "in the conviction untempered ridicule is the only appropriate response to the absurdities and capitulations that have made Donald Trump's accession possible". 

Cape bought the novel from Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown to publish on 13th April 2017 as a trade paperback. 

The publisher said: "Pussy is the story of Prince Fracassus, heir presumptive to the Duchy of Origen, famed for its golden-gated skyscrapers and casinos, who passes his boyhood watching reality shows on TV, imagining himself to be the Roman Emperor Nero, and fantasizing about hookers. He is idle, boastful, thin-skinned and egotistic; has no manners, no curiosity, no knowledge, no idea and no words in which to express them. Could he, in that case, be the very leader to make the country great again?"

Dan Franklin, associate publisher at Cape, said: "This is a provocatively entertaining, savagely funny satire by Britain’s greatest comic novelist - just the book most of us have been waiting for."

Jacobson, the author of 14 novels and five works of non-fiction, won the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury) and was also shortlisted for the prize in 2014 for his most recent novel, J (Vintage). 

Not alone in his vehement reaction to Trump's election, the trade responded with "dismay" and "horror" in November but also with defiance. Tim Hely Hutchinson, c.e.o of Hachette UK, said “the fight for kindness and tolerance” must continue, while Faber's Stephen Page said books and writing would be "an important part of trying to bridge the divide".

Managing director of Carcanet Press expressed his concern it would fuel an “atmosphere of anti-intellectualism that will be very damaging for the cultural sector”, and Alessandro Gallenzi, founder of Alma Books, blamed “intellectual sheepishness” itself for the result. “What you sow is what you reap. Decades of lack of investment in education and the arts, decades of dumbing-down and anti-intellectualism can only lead to mental apathy and political passivity,” he said.