Heightened surrealism is de rigueur in the day-glo Florida of Carl Hiaasen’s stories. His target is the state’s other invasive species, yet amid the uninhibited political satire, notably a thinly veiled portrait of a presidential couple code-named Mastodon and Mockingbird by the secret service, there are enough murders, cover-ups and serpentine twists to keep you rooting for the novel’s spirited heroine, animal handler Angie Armstrong. Just don’t expect it to be bedside reading in the White House.
Hiaasen has been writing fabulous black comedies with compelling characters for three decades and has lost none of his touch with this — his 15th...
Beautifully observed and full of swipes at the inhabitant of the White House, it is hugely entertaining.
Referred to by the (made-up) code names Mastodon and Mockingbird, Trump and Melania become increasingly central as the scintillating satirical farce advances towards the climax of another Palm Beach plutocrats’ gala. This time the event is at the Winter White House (renamed the Casa Bellicosa) and is hosted by thepresident, who suffers multiple humiliations, from fiascos involving a tanning bed and fake aphrodisiac to an ultimatum from the first lady concerning their respective lovers. The resulting bravura display reminds us not only that Hiaasen is wondrously fertile in devising fizzing plots and zany characters, but also that as a comic prose stylist he can give Wodehouse and Waugh a run for their money.
Look at yourself. If you are wearing a MAGA anything, you won’t like this book.
But if you could use some wild escapism right now, Hiaasen is your guy. In its themes and its wild imagination, “Squeeze Me” offers some familiar pleasures, akin to a Greatest Hits collection. Anyone who’s read him will know what a prime recommendation that is. The edible socialite may be new, but reptiles like the python have long slithered through Hiaasen’s vision of Florida as a refuge for the worst of humankind. This book full of superrich bigots may have his highest count of nice fauna and awful people.