“Robert Coover remains our foremost verbal wizard, our laughter in the dark.” —T.C. Boyle
Fifty years after the original release of Coover's satire, this rollicking fable of the grotesque, unhinged Cat in the Hat (and the stuffed shirts who bet on his success) makes for a bitterly funny indictment of politics-as-usual in 2017.
As Robert Coover read Dr. Seuss to his children in 1968, he noticed “the little Cat in the Hat symbol on the front cover: ‘I CAN READ IT ALL BY MYSELF.’ It looked remarkably like a campaign button, and, by changing one letter, it was one.” Sensing a strange affinity between the anarchic Seussian world and the riots, assassinations, warfare and social upheaval that forever marked 1968 as a year of turmoil, Coover began to write. With the slogan “I CAN LEAD IT ALL BY MYSELF,” he imagines a hedonistic, novelty-crazed public and their shameless, nonsense-spewing, hat-wearing demagogue: the Cat in the Hat.
While this mind-bending classic vividly evokes the late 1960s — with psychedelic flights of fancy and tropes of the sexual revolution, civil rights, and Vietnam all heaving out of its pages — it also feels chillingly prescient a half century later. Its hilarity shot through with anger and fear, The Cat in the Hat for President anticipates and diagnoses the 2016 election’s dirty tricks, unheard-of spectacle, and, well, a cat in a (MAGA) hat.
Includes a new introduction by the author.