Combining elements of memoir, political theory, and literary criticism, Dorfman’s work is an emotionally raw yet measured assessment of the United States after the election of Donald Trump. The author, writing with a bifurcated Latino-American identity, highlights the troubling parallels between Trump and repressive regimes of the past. Specifically, Dorfman relates the election of Trump to the CIA-led coup that installed Pinochet as dictator in Chile: an event that upended his life, as well as the fate of the country. With corruption and repression looming, he wonders, can the United States avoid the same kind of political interference it practiced in the past?
Reflecting Dorfman’s virtuosity across genres, the essays within are concise, yet highly original and playful; one takes the form of a letter from a 16th-century King of Spain to Trump, praising him for his intolerance, and urging a revival of the Inquisition, while another begins with Dorfman’s memory of seeing a monster movie as a child and segues into a thoughtful meditation on Trump via Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. The author brings a rich array of literary references to his discussion of America’s current malaise.