Although Christopher Buckley’s satirical fiction “Boomsday” was published in 2007, it fits perfectly into our current election year fervor. With acidic wit, unsubtle characters, and plotlines that could only come out of the Washington D.C. political atmosphere, “Boomsday” combines absurdity, wit and chaos, spinning them into a literary tapestry worthy of your time.
Cassandra Devine stars as an angry young blogger protagonist who in the wee hours of the morning proposes that aging Americans who will soon collect Social Security be given certain incentives to kill themselves (called “Transitioning”) to save the country from financial ruin. Soon, attacks on retirement complexes and golf courses by disenchanted youth ensue, and Cassandra finds an unlikely ally — the ambitious, handsome, one-legged Senator Randolph Jepperson IV. Together, they take her “Boomsday” plan and spin it into political gold. Along the way, Buckley tosses us plots involving rumored sexual sprees in Bosnian minefields, a powerful monsignor and the Catholic Church, presidential candidates, Yale, Russian prostitutes and an air of dark humor that could satisfy the most cynical of hearts.
While the beginning of “Boomsday” could be criticized as starting too slowly, the build up is worth the wait. Once Cassandra and Senator Jepperson’s stories are laid out in perfect Americana glory, multiple other delightful secondary characters emerge, some of them even better than the main characters. What is truly wonderful about Buckley’s writing is that although it is political, he never takes a stance, or even names parties, but rather lets us revel in the ridiculousness. In our current media-soaked and vicious political environment, such satire is refreshing.