Fast and furious: America Fantastica, by Tim O’Brien, reviewed

It’s been said again and again but rarely so plainly illustrated: American life is now too berserk for fiction to keep up. Tim O’Brien’s wild, rollercoaster satire America Fantastica is as wacky as its title suggests; but it can’t compete with the daily trainwreck that calls itself the land of the free and the home of the brave. O’Brien tracks with furious contempt the spread of a highly contagious illness: mythomania and delusional conspiracy theories infecting the body politic and poisoning a defenceless citizenry in the dark pre-Covid days of 2019. The name ‘Trump’ is never mentioned in the novel, but the ‘avalanche of oratorical whoppers’ issuing from the White

Wall Street madness: Trust, by Hernan Diaz, reviewed

‘I don’t trust fiction,’ the famous author told me, both of us several glasses to the good. ‘It contains too much truth.’ I nodded and she laughed and we drank more wine, but that sentence stayed with me in all its aphoristic glory. When she died, this was the first thing I remembered: our conspiratorial conversation in the deepest dark of 1990s Soho. This is not true. It has the feel of lived experience, yet it is entirely invented. The context, its placement and the fact that it is printed in a magazine gives it credence. As readers, we do not expect to be lied to. With a work of