x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

O, A Presidential Novel by Anonymous

Much anticipated White House novel offers insider's guide to the politics and manners of Washington DC

It's the weekend in Washington DC and all the most powerful man in the world wants to do is play golf. He knows, of course, he shouldn't: "CEOs can golf, generals can golf... but if I play a round or two, the press totals them up and runs stories about America's golf-crazy president," laments O, the central character in this "presidential novel" - a book that arrived amid considerable kerfuffle over who its anonymous author might be.

O begins at the end, on the eve of the 2012 presidential election, before rewinding to the near future of this year, to unravel an insider's guide to Washington, spiced with a little scandal and framed by the mounting tension of re-election season. In doing so, it sets up the White House incumbent as a battle- weary leader of the most meticulously planned campaign in history. Little, if anything, will be left to chance come next year.

It is nothing if not well-observed. Last weekend, the real president played his 60th round of golf since assuming higher office. His outing attracted heavy criticism from certain sections of the press.

* Nick March