Basket of Deplorables: An eerie collection of 'almost-true' stories

Review: Tom Rachman delves into the worst conceivable scenarios following the 2016 US election

Tom Rachman’s short stories feature protagonists who wouldn’t dream of admitting to their own dark realities

Tom Rachman’s short stories feature protagonists who wouldn’t dream of admitting to their own dark realities

Sat, Nov 18, 2017, 00:00

   
 

Book Title:
Basket of Deplorables: Almost-true stories

ISBN-13:
9781786488749

Author:
Tom Rachman

Publisher:
Riverrun

Guideline Price:
£8.99

Who are the “deplorables”? Tom Rachman’s eerie and sobering collection is of “almost-true” stories which delve into the worst conceivable, and scarily possible, scenarios following the 2016 US election.

Opening with an election night party attended by a clique of liberals, certain of the outcome, these short stories feature protagonists who wouldn’t dream of admitting to their own dark realities.

With chapter titles like “Truth is for Losers”, and “Sad! Wrong! Not Nice!” the vocabulary of the collection is undeniably of Trump-era America. In “Leakzilla” Rachman plays out the nightmarish set-up of a global email hack making everyone’s personal correspondence available on the internet, so that not even the little everyday lies characters tell each other are safe.

Ultimately, the question we began with – who are the deplorables? – cannot be answered with reassurance; is it “them” or “us”? With the daily news becoming more fantastical with every broadcast, these stories fly closer to the truth than is comfortable, and hit the mark dead centre.