Aug 22, 2020
In real life, Bill Clinton asked Hillary Rodham to marry him three times before she finally said yes. The rest is history. But in Sittenfeld’s alternative world, Hillary says no, and their lives diverge from there. Hillary is alone and heartbroken, but she’s also free to pursue her own political ambitions – and free from the humiliating sexual scandals that will plague Bill’s political career.
Sittenfeld deftly mines the ‘What if?” possibilities of her premise, but does the novel live up to the hype? Or is it just literary fan fiction? An exercise in wishful thinking?
Journalist Phil Chaffee joins us to give Rodham the full book club treatment. It’s a no holds barred discussion as we try to figure out whether the novel is an ingenious yet plausible glimpse of an alternative reality, or just a writer capitalising on a famous name.
What is your book club reading next?
At the end of the show, keep listening for our follow-on recommendations, all inspired by Rodham. In this episode, that includes:
Other books mentioned in this episode:
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace