Christopher Buckley is a novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor, and memoirist. His books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages. He worked as a merchant seaman and White House speechwriter. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and has lectured in more than seventy cities around the world. He was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence.
The first lady of Buckley's latest satire (after Little Green Men and Thank You for Smoking) is Elizabeth "Lady Beth Mac" MacMann, wife of President Kenneth Kemble MacMann. Kenneth, whose morals are as unreliable as a granny knot, meets an untimely death two and half years into his first term. Indicted for his murder, Elizabeth hires as her defender the one and only Boyce "Shameless" Baylor, to whom she had once been affianced. Elizabeth doesn't wear the widow's weeds long before she and her hotshot legal adviser get together for some unprotected fun in bed, with unintended but not unusual results. In strict story terms, the novel is a long tease-how many witnesses and how much testimony do we have to hear before finding out what really happened that fateful night in September? But it's worth the wait. The book is shot through with a particularly mordant vein of social satire and mocks the ludicrousness of modern life, something to which we've become numb. This should be on your list, near the top. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/02.]-A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The lurid sexual excesses that dominated presidential politics in the late '90s provide plenty of comic fodder for Buckley's latest satire, which doubles as a legal thriller that begins when President Ken MacMann is found dead in bed next to his wife after a vigorous night in a White House guest room with his latest mistress, film star Babette Van Anka. First lady Elizabeth MacMann whose tabloid nickname is Lady Bethmac is first on the suspect list, largely because she bopped Ken with an antique spittoon after his latest infidelity, leaving a bruise that spelled out Paul Revere's name on the late presidential forehead. Beth quickly hires an expensive, successful legal gun named Boyce "Shameless" Baylor, who also happens to be an old flame, and Baylor wades into the sordid mess, using the well-established tactics of tabloid trials to steer his client toward reasonable doubt. But Beth gets cocky after his initial success and insists on taking the stand to clear her reputation, a tactic that backfires so badly that Baylor is forced to resort to jury tampering to try to force a mistrial. Buckley has to use some obvious narrative clichs to get Baylor and MacMann out of the mess after they rekindle their romance, but the good news is that this book is more plot driven than Buckley's earlier satires, making it more coherent and effective over the long haul. The political humor is first-rate as usual, as Buckley has plenty of fun with the slimy, silly mess that is Beltway politics. This is one of his better efforts, which should keep Buckley on the "A" list of American satirists. Author appearances in New York and Washington, D.C. (Oct. 15) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"Unspeakably and endlessly funny. Unless you're a former
president...Wicked humorist Buckley shoots fish in a barrel and
makes them dance."
"The lurid sexual excesses of the late 90's provide plenty of comic fodder for Buckley's latest satire, which doubles as a legal thriller...The political humor is first-rate as usual, as Buckley has plenty of fun with the slimy, silly mess that is Beltway politics. This is one of his better efforts, which should keep Buckley on the "A' list of American satirists."
-Publishers Weekly (lead review)
"Buckley has surpassed himself....The result isn't humorous; it's hilarious."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review
"An exceedingly funny account of a White House scandal that
doesn't bear the slightest resemblance-nudge nudge, wink wink-
to one that took place there only five short years ago."
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"This clever, gleeful satire . . . sets a high comic standard."
-Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Christopher Buckley must have had a great time creating this satire that is part legal thriller, part love story and entirely over-the-top funny. But those who choose to pick it up can look forward to smart writing, memorable lines and more than a few belly laughs. [No Way to Treat a First Lady] doesn't have to be a guilty pleasure; it can be enjoyed and shared because it is simply smart and light and very funny."
-The Denver Post