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Author: Christopher Buckley
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rights: UK & Comm ex Canada
Pub. Date: 26th May 2008
One of America's most hilarious novelists and bestselling author of Thank You For Smoking returns with a biting comedy about generational warfare, political shenanigans and the power of PR spin.
Cassandra Devine, a charismatic 29-year-old blogger and member of Generation Whatever, is outraged over the excesses of the Baby Boomer generation and their negligent handling of the mounting Social Security debt.
When she politely suggests that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by the age of seventy-five, it catches the imagination of millions of outraged citizens, including an ambitious senator who sees this as his ticket to becoming President.
With the help of Washington's greatest spin doctor, the blogger and the politician try to ride the issue of euthanasia for Boomers all the way to the White House, over the objections of the Religious Right and, of course, the Boomers themselves, who are deeply offended by demonstrations on the golf courses of their retirement resorts...
'Mischievous and sharp, Buckley's outrageous vision of the near future unerringly hits the mark, exposing society's twisted values to hilarious effect'Good Book Guide
“a phenomenally enjoyable funny novel.”Simon Mayo, BBC Radio 5 Live
‘The plot and narrative are genuinely hilarious, the characterisation anarchic and thoroughly enjoyable, and the satire bites at its target with he determination and impact of a rottweiler setting about a fillet mignon. But for all that, Buckley also has a beautifully light witty touch that emphasises Washington’s descent into a cynical, selfish, moral cess pool.’ […] ‘Buckley brings the full package to the table. Boomsday is laugh-out-loud, Hiaasen-on-the-potomac funny, but also hits all it’s targets- lobbyists, spins doctors, politicians, business people – with unerring accuracy. A first class example of a difficult art’Material Witness Blog
‘Hilarious…like a wittier West Wing, Boomsday takes a rollicking, entertaining look at the machinations inside Washington...ultimately a very successful satire’Observer
‘Savage satire right at heart...hilarious, absurdist...a perfect gift for any over-50s relative’Tribune
‘ Buckley writes with satirical gusto and, despite the implausibility of the novel’s plotline, its development rings true’Arena
‘An amazing read that I would thoroughly recommend…funny, imaginative, well documented, authentic, ingenious…the list goes on, and though it’s a rare thing for me to say, I really couldn’t fault it in even the smallest way – 5-stars!’Bookbag.co.uk
‘Buckley displays his usual talent for converting America's political controversies into hilarious caricatures…highly diverting’The Guardian
‘Mischievously funny…this screwball caper blends the downright ridiculous with the ridiculously plausible to morbid yet hilarious effect’Daily Mail
‘If you really want to read about spin in all its cynical glory, then ditch your Alastair Campbell doorstops and buy this lacerating satire instead. You'll laugh your ass - sorry, arse - off.’New Statesman
'Let's see...Hmm...How can you explain that a book about "incentivising suicide" and "US political campaigns" is not just "fun" but the most hilarious thing you've read in ages? Those words rarely appear in the same sentence, but this book is unfortunately just that: an ingenious tale of spin doctors and radical cost-cutting suggestions that are beautifully simple while somewhat unappealing to many, namely that when you hit age 75, poof, you politely go off to ki11 yourself and "do your bit" to help out the country's ailing welfare system.
Once I'd managed to get over the general plot, I was left trying to justify some of the more outlandish characters in this book. Cassandra Devine is a 20-something living in Washington who spin-doctors by day, and blogs by night. Her route into this job took her by way of Yale (almost), Bosnia (briefly), a Senate office (unappealingly) and a minefield (unfortunately) but despite her unconventional CV, she is a well settled, productive member of a DC based PR company. Randy Jepperson is a senator from the great state of Massachusetts, who lost a leg in that same minefield, and now has his heart set on a seat in the Oval office, a feat he plans to accomplish by some outlandish statements (telling the current president to "Shut the **** up" live on national TV, for example) and some even more outlandish actions (taking off his prosthesis during speeches and shaking it for dramatic effect, for example).
When Cassandra and Jepperson team up to take on the White House with an outrageous solution to the mounting social security debt, the aforementioned incentivising suicide bid, their main opposition comes in the shape of Gideon Payne, a dubious member of the Religious Right who may, or may not, have killed his mother on the sly, and the current president of the United States, a hapless character who is a mere puppet in the hands of his aides, and whose similarity to a certain current president appears far from coincidental.
There are lots of "stories within stories" in this book. Cassandra's family history is brought to the fore when her estranged father, newly loaded, buys himself a spot in the president's inner circle. Her relationship with the senator is a frequent cause for speculation among the press, including what they were doing in the minefield and why they were there in a minefield in the first place. Terry, her mentor and manager at the communications firm is a lovable rogue who could spin his way out of any tangled web, while others' credentials come under scrutiny when their business affairs are uncovered and they have to jiggle the resulting mess, including justifying their own cashing-in-on-the-dying strategies while publicly denouncing Cass's, ongoing campaigns for a monument to foetuses, and a newly discovered and somewhat uncomfortable new longing for ladies of the night. You couldn't make this stuff up.
What I really, really liked about this book was the lack of loose ends by the epilogue. As the story progresses more and more new facts and relationships are discovered, and the resulting web of who knows whom, who is in league with whom, who is genetically related to whom is convoluted but not too confusing. And yet, you imagine that somewhere along the way a few of these facts with fade away in an open-ended way, or disappear quite without thought, leaving you to wonder what happened there. This simply doesn't happen in this book, and I'm struggling to think of a single thread to this very well woven story that wasn't carried on and explained to a suitable conclusion.
Some might think the themes in this book are tasteless, that the characters and the situations in which they find themselves are despicable, disgusting or downright dreadful, but I'm afraid to say I thought it was a brilliant read. The ideas might not be to everyone's liking, (though I would say, far from sick and twisted, I found them inspired and motivating), but the writing itself is a work of art!! I would also like to recommend Tino Georgiou's bestselling novel--The Fates--if you haven't read it yet!'L. Washburn
'A fitting read in the current pre-election climate, Boomsday is a well crafted book by a clearly talented writer. It's strengths lie in the way in which Buckley creates an entire parallel world, which is only slightly exagerrated and hence very believeable. The whole world of American politics is mercilessly mocked and Buckley scores points off just about every potential target on the political spectrum, and for the most part this makes for a very enjoyable read. It falls down simply because it occasionally becomes too clever for its own good - the middle section is especially weak as the plot seems to disappear completely in preference to a lengthy and slightly tedious series of extended satirical passages. An enjoyable read, but by no means essential.'Particular Press