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Dog Days: A Novelby Ana Marie Cox
Synopses & Reviews
It's August in Washington, D.C., in an election year. The Democratic convention has just concluded; the Republican convention is just a few weeks away. The weather is hot and hazy, people leave work a little earlier, and they drink a little more. A town that often seems ridiculously reminiscent of high school now starts to feel more like summer camp. And the life of twenty-eight-year-old campaign staffer Melanie Thorton is about to veer wildly off course.
Melanie has the job of her dreams and the (married) man of her dreams. She's helping to run the communications outfit of Democrat John Hillman's presidential campaign and she's having a romance with Washington's most powerful political journalist, Rick Stossel. In one of life's unhappy coincidences, a group called Citizens for Clear Heads emerges out of nowhere with scandalous information about her candidate at the same time as the Washington Post's gossip columnist begins calling her friends to try to sniff out details of her affair.
When her world starts to fall apart, Melanie finds herself willing to sacrifice all of her long-held ideals to keep it together. When it falls apart anyway, she has to find a way to make her own life meaningful and leave the fate of the free world to someone else.
Dog Days is a wry and sexy story of the young movers and shakers in D.C. — the most engaging, idealistic, cynical, cutthroat, and hilarious characters you'd ever want to sit next to at a dinner party — from a stylish new comic voice who knows her turf inside out.
"Cox came to fame in 2004 as Wonkette, a D.C. insider whose blog injected (and still injects) levity and sarcasm into the earnest national political scene. In her snarky fictive debut, it's August in a presidential election year, and Kerryesque nominee John Hillman has failed to wow the Democratic convention. Worse yet, Hillman is under attack from the Citizens for Clear Heads, who claim that the candidate, as a student, took part in mind-control experiments, and now may be under someone's control. Campaign staffer and heroine Melanie Thorton must divert the media from the Clear Heads story before it destroys what's left of Hillman's appeal; she also hopes to rekindle her affair with a high-powered (but married) reporter. Desperate to distract the press (and herself), Melanie creates Capitolette, whose wholly fictional blog describes paid sexual dalliances with elected officials. (Cox's early blog link to Washingtonienne, whose exploits match Capitolette's exactly, set in motion the chain of events which would reveal Washingtonienne as real Hill staffer Jessica Cutler.) Wanting to keep the Capitolette story going, Melanie and her best friend find a (very) willing D.C. waitress and teach her to play the role of Capitolette — a role she embraces, in bedrooms if not online, as unintended consequences pile up. Cox aims for a light comedy of Washington power, halfway between Primary Colors and Sex and the City. Her powers of plot construction, though, don't match her political savvy: emotions are predictable, plot twists few. Fans of Wonkette's wit will find themselves better served by her blog — unless they want to revisit August 2004 as seen from the Kerry campaign, which few real Washingtonians (and even fewer Democrats) want to do." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[B]risk, smart, smutty, knowing and very well-written....
"Dog Days is predictable and, worst of all, mean-spirited....
"Cox has written a stirring polemic for those who think Washington is inherently mindless and greedy and who believe that the dim, envious, self-cherishing mess that is politics should be employed only as society's last, desperate resort." P.J. O'Rourke, The Washington Post
"Ms. Cox has a flair for drunken-flirtation scenes, and some of her pompous types get their comeuppance in amusing ways. Were it not for the author's buzzy background, however, this slight first novel might well be ignored, a fate worse than death in the Washington of Wonkette." Dallas Morning News
"The novel has a stripped-down story line and limited character development. The plot is predictable and matter-of-fact. But it does have a blunt, albeit tawdry, honesty." USA Today
"To pull all these elements together into a coherent romp of a book would require more dexterity than Ms. Cox seems to possess. Like many first-time novelists, she is rather too fond of her own wit." Wall St. Journal
"A must read for the Beltway crowd...fun for outsiders as well....Cox is an irresistible observer of the Washington scene." People
"An acid political satire?at times Dog Days sounds like it was written by a more sartorially inclined Raymond Chandler." Village Voice
From the outrageous and notorious voice behind the popular political blog "Wonkette" comes this razor-sharp comic novel that chronicles the romantic and political life of a young campaign staffer in Washington, D.C.
About the Author
Ana Marie Cox is the creator and writer of the political blog Wonkette. She has written for Elle, Wired, Mother Jones, Slate, Salon, New York, the New York Times, and the New York Times Book Review, among other publications.
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