Just when we thought Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie couldn’t get any more badass, she does. The New York Times Book Review is publishing two short works of fiction regarding the 2016 political candidates. One of the commissioned short stories is Adichie’s “The Arrangements,” a rework of Virginia Woolf’s classic 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway, starring none other than the Trump family.
Adichie was drawn to Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway because it “both criticizes, and is also complicit in, a certain kind of conservative class-privileged England,” she wrote for the NY Times. The author channelled that particular idea in her own short story, capturing the chaos of the American election with its composed prose. Melania Trump, Donald Trump’s wife, is the main character and narrator as Clarissa Dalloway.
“The Arrangements” provides an ironic, yet plausible, look into the Trump campaign from a Trump’s perspective. Melania begins by reflecting on her marriage to Donald while picking out flowers. She thinks about how her husband’s insistence on letting the florists choose the arrangement shows how “taste, for him, was something to be determined by somebody else, and then flaunted.” Melania slowly turns towards thoughts of step-daughter Tiffany Trump, whom she likes because she “never disputed…the primacy of Melania’s place in Donald’s life.” Then she thinks of Ivanka.Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
Donald’s daughter Ivanka, “whom Donald showed off like a glowing modern toy that he did not know how to operate,” plays a central role in this short story. Adichie explains to the NY Times how the young woman “seems to me too thoughtful and too intelligent to truly believe that her father’s erratic, ungrounded policy positions would genuinely be good for the United States.” Thus, an antagonist is born. It turns out Ivanka plays an undermining, even destructive, role to her father’s campaign while seeming to support it. And Melania can’t stand her.
The climax of the story? We won’t spoil anything, but it involves a prospective dinner party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. You can read “The Arrangements” in its entirety here.