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A provocatively entertaining, savagely funny satire on Donald Trump by Britain’s greatest comic novelist, winner of the Man Booker Prize

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?

Reviews

A satire in Swiftian vein, this is Howard Jacobson’s fifteenth novel and first hand grenade. If Trump’s policy is to move fast and break things, then he has a competitor in Jacobson, who began Pussyv in the aftermath of Trump’s election victory and completed well before Trump’s catastrophic failure to repeal Obamacare… It has all the qualities of a fleet response: undigested rage, whip-smart wit devastating fluency and an aim as straight as an arrow… This is the story, savagely well told by our greatest comic novelist, of how we got in the state we’re in.

Francis Wilson, Oldie

The pairing of author and subject sounds divinely ordained: The world’s smartest comic novelist vs. a TV reality star who ran for president while bragging about his genitals.

Ron Charles, Washington Post

There are many aesthetic pleasures to be had in Pussy. If Trump’s presidency is a source of continuing anxiety, then among its very few benefits is that it has moved one of our finest comic writers to write an elegantly savage satire of a man who defies satire.

Andrew Anthony, Observer

Jacobson is… on target and deliciously laugh-aloud nasty about not just the making of this rough beast but what in the American character enabled it to go slouching into the White House.

Jeffrey Burke, Mail on Sunday

This is top-class comment writing, disguised in the form of a satirical jeu d’esprit… It is, to quote the title of Jacobson’s own study of comedy, Seriously Funny.

Philip Collins, The Times

Angry… In common with many a classic satire, Pussy is written as a fable… It’s all great fun… Jacobson is very good on the nuances of the Trump phenomenon, both in terms of what’s alarming about it and why it has struck such a resonant chord… And even if his book is unlikely to topple any governments, it may at least, as its author hopes, spread comfort in some quarter and vexation in others.

Dan Brotzel, UK Press Syndication

The book brilliantly portrays a world in which language and the complexity of ideas that it can convey has been devalued… The novel hurtles breathlessly through a bildungsroman of the young prince from “baby celebrity” to idling away his boyhood watching reality TV shows, to becoming a young man fantasising about prostitutes and being a Roman emperor, to the moment he runs for election… Fascinating.

Anita Sethi

For anyone thinking that Pussy is a comic novel, beware: the book is relentlessly unfunny. But this should not be taken as a criticism; rather, recognition of just how creepily well realized and bleak Jacobson’s vision of the Trump phenomenon turns out to be… It also captures, with chilling accuracy, the way Trumpism is a reflection of the post-literate world we increasingly inhabit… Bullseye, Mr Jacobson. This is a novel that has much to say about how Mussolinis like Trump coerce others into succumbing to their profoundly myopic, Manichaean world-view.

Douglas Kennedy, New Statesman

Howard Jacobson's reaction to the recent US election is viciously sharp, and almost too close to the bone to be funny… After the result, Jacobson… churned out 50,000 lacerating words in the form of a fable, one filled to its margins with viciously sharp humour and gossamer-thin allusions to reality… While delirious in its excoriations, Pussy can be hard to laugh at at times as it is so on-the-nose, in much the same way many rock bands find This is Spinal Tap too accurate to be outright comedy… A seething little nugget of a book.

Hilary A White, Irish Independent

What immediately stands out is how different this is from most of Jacobson’s fiction. This is all-out political satire, a punchy attack on President Trump… Fracassus is a Nero for our times. Monstrous. Larger than life. Jacobson captures him with some excellent turns of phrase.

David Herman, Jewish Chronicle

Pussy, written at huge speed, is a brilliant send-up of President Trump and a departure from Jacobson’s usual contemporary fiction. Published this week, the deliciously funny satire takes wry pot shots at the most powerful man in the US and his inner circle and raises serious questions about morality, identity and truth in today’s increasingly strange political world.

Rebecca Wallersteiner, Jewish News

Pussy… is an aberration for the writer oft-described as Britain’s greatest living comic novelist: a curious and purposefully not that funny moral fable written at lightning speed in “a fury of disbelief”.

Chitra Ramaswamy, Scotsman

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781787330207

    April 18, 2017

    Jonathan Cape

    208 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473549340

    April 13, 2017

    Vintage Digital

    208 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
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    • eBooks
    • Google Play
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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Howard Jacobson

Shylock is My Name
J: A Novel
The Act of Love
Kalooki Nights
The Making Of Henry
Who's Sorry Now
Coming From Behind
The Mighty Walzer
No More Mr Nice Guy
Peeping Tom
Redback

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