Friday, October 26, 2012

Is the Political Novel Dead?

I've been wondering if the political novel is dead -- if, indeed, it was ever really alive. I'm pondering this as I tease out a plot for my WIP (if we can call it that), A Bright, Shiny Object, which would be one such political novel.

Not including murder-at-the-White-House-type potboilers, the political novels I can think of are few and far between. Primary Colors, Joe Klein's story inspired by Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, is the only recent one that comes to mind. Only a few others pop into my head, all of them rather old: All the King's Men, The Ugly American, Seven Days in May (was that even a novel before it was a movie?).

This is unfortunate for someone like me, who is cursed with an interest in politics. (I say cursed because our political discourse in this country has been reduced to schoolyard taunts, while the number of outlets for this jibber-jabber has exploded, bombarding us with a lot of bilious crap.)

I suppose, on the upside, that the relative paucity of political novels -- as opposed to, say, vampire or zombie books -- might leave a little daylight on the agent/publisher landscape for someone who actually churns one out.

Your thoughts?


Roland said...

Politics is such high theater and often absurd in real life, it's tough to cast a fresh light on it through fiction. "Thank You for Smoking" was the last good political novel I've read.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Mallon's WATERGATE. Perhaps more like historical fiction, but it was a pretty good read!

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