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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
A contemporary re-imagining of Dante’s beloved Divine Comedy never read this well. His travels through hell, purgatory, and paradise are re-interpreted as a working-class American, disillusioned at the prospects of having a better life, finds hope in Donald Trump’s gift of the gab that runs in the vein of giving America back to Americans. Welcome to The Man Who Voted for Donald Trump, a surreal political novel from the critical imagination of Gilligan Malden. Twelve years of employment at a tractor supply parts factory did not guarantee job security for Buck Winner. Getting the pink slip adds to his predicaments, as it comes at a time when he is haunted by the memories of a past love and the phantoms of his parents’ murders. Donald Trump’s charismatic, no-nonsense take on immigration and employment appeals to Buck. Swept up by the sense of disenfranchisement, he becomes an avid campaigner for Trump. But in the process, when the orange pompadour has taken office, Buck discovers that he had too-high expectations and decides to take control of his own life. The moral choices he will make along the way will not be easy.
Gilligan Malden is viewing Trump’s presidency with a keen appraisal. This appraisal is reflected in Buck's introspection and how he interacts with the people around him--a brilliant take on political opinion applied as an experience by a fictional character. The Man Who Voted for Trump is a very good political novel that is worthy of note to anyone who has a feeling of involvement in the nation’s affairs. This is a quiet novel that makes a noise. Malden has a way with words, and his descriptions of the engagements of an American proletariat under a presidency torn by diametric sentiments is a study of millennial America. The frustrations, hopes, and recoveries may appear fantastic, but their occurrence has probability in an era where everyone’s willingness to engage is tested.