Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Rewrites Mrs Dalloway With Donald Trump Twist

In anticipation of the 2016 election, The New York Times Book Review will publish two short works of fiction related to the political candidates. The first of these is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Trump short story, which casts Donald Trump's wife, Melania, as Virginia Woolf's Clarissa Dalloway. I've got a summary and some of the best quotes for you to read below.

Melania Trump was born Melanija Knavs in what is now Yugoslavia. She began modeling as a teenager, and was later associated with Trump Model Management. She and Donald dated for five years before marrying in 2005. The couple have one child, Barron, born 2006.

Woolf's 1925 novel, Mrs Dalloway, provides the framework for Adichie's short story, "The Arrangements." In the novel, a trip to purchase flowers for a party forces Clarissa to confront the choices she made by marrying the conservative Richard Dalloway instead of Peter Walsh, her more passionate, former lover, or Sally, a girl she once kissed, but whose romance she did not pursue.

In "The Arrangements," Melania Trump's encounters with her family and acquaintances provide wry, believable insight into Donald Trump's campaign. Under Adichie's pen, the 46-year-old former model reveals that her marriage to the real estate mogul "came as a relief," following her passionate relationship with her — evidently fictional — ex, Tomaz. Melania fixates on Janelle, her Pilates instructor, whose presence offers Adichie the opportunity to showcase Donald Trump's racism: "Really? I didn’t think they did that Pilates stuff. It’s not like Pilates is hip-hop or whatever."

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The most interesting part of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short story is the revelation that Ivanka Trump — Donald's daughter and de facto campaign wife — may secretly be undermining her father's candidacy by supporting his prejudicial antics.

Where Adichie's Melania finds Ivanka intimidating and enraging, she has a warm relationship with Tiffany Trump, which provides the younger step-daughter with an opportunity to drop a bombshell: Ivanka uses a fake name to funnel money into Hillary Clinton's campaign.

After learning this, it becomes difficult to read Ivanka's agreements with her father, her loose-rein guidance of his campaign, as anything other than quiet sabotage. This is the most glorious part of "The Arrangements," and Adichie leaves us to wonder what will happen when the story closes, as Melania plans to tell Donald what she knows after dinner.

Adichie's short story is chock full of fantastic quotes, and you must go read "The Arrangements" in its entirety. As a preview, here are a few of the best passages.

1. "[S]he realized that taste, for him, was something to be determined by somebody else, and then flaunted."


2. "He always agreed with Ivanka. Ivanka who spoke in eloquent streams of words that meant nothing but still impressed everyone, Ivanka whom Donald showed off like a glowing modern toy that he did not know how to operate."


3. "When she had first told him 'you will win,' that balmy day in Florida last year, drinking Diet Coke in tennis whites, she had meant he would win at what he wanted: the publicity, the ego polish. It would help his TV show, and impress those business associates tickled by fame. But she had never meant he would actually win the Republican primary, nor had she expected the frenzy of media coverage he received."


4. "Why did some news sites choose the most unflattering images? It was deliberate. She was scrupulous about presenting the best angles of her face to the cameras, practicing the tilt to her neck that ensured a slim silhouette. Yet some photo editors were determined to use the few bad shots. They were jealous of Donald; nothing else could explain it."


5. "The last time, he kissed her, eager and dramatic and sweaty as he often was — he hated her initiating things, 'aggressive women make me think I’m with a transsexual,' he’d told her years ago — and then fumbled and shifted and suddenly got up and said he had a phone call to make. Only then did she understand what had happened. They did not talk about it, but for a few days he had sulked and snapped, as though it were her fault."