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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Jan/Feb 2019 > Trumped-up tales

Trumped-up tales

A US novelist stands up for decency in the face of an indecent president— and asks tough questions about her country’s origins, finds Diane Roberts
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver (Faber, £20)

It’s apropos—in a bitter sort of way—that Donald Trump’s election as US president propelled George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to the upper reaches of the bestseller list 68 years after its publication. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel which is now a successful television series began to look more frighteningly prophetic after 8th November 2016. (Atwood has just announced a sequel.) The hit historical musical Hamilton, which premiered before Trump announced his candidacy, is a sharp critique of white nationalism. Trump haunts American culture—loudly. The New York Public Theatre’s 2017 production of Julius Caesar reimagined the Roman general as a mouthy, yellow-haired politico sporting a red tie, while the short-lived revival of the television series Roseanne cast Trump as the voice of working-class angst. For musicians Kendrick Lamar and the Decemberists Trump embodies anti-democratic decadence.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s January/February double issue: A host of writers and personalities explain what they think will be the most important thing we need to learn in the new year. From Justin Welby arguing for new emphasis on learning to forgive and Lord Neuberger on the importance of a free judiciary to Hannah Fry on AI and Cathy Newman on what happens next for #MeToo—Prospect has it all. Elsewhere in the issue: Fintan O’Toole looks at Brexit from an Irish perspective, Wendell Steavenson dishes the dirt on what really happens to the waste you want to recycle, Frank Close questions why—half a century after our last visit—we’ve not been back to the Moon. Also, Michael Blastland argues that we’re ignoring the upsides of having an alcoholic drink and Clive James explores the life of Philip Larkin.