Synopses & Reviews
If you've never read Christopher Buckley's fiction before, Boomsday
is the perfect introduction to the author Tom Wolfe calls "one of the funniest writers in the English language" and Fortune
magazine deems "the quintessential political novelist of our time."
And if you have read Christopher Buckley before, prepare yourself for his most outrageous, wickedly warped Washington comedy since his acclaimed bestsellers Thank You for Smoking and No Way to Treat a First Lady.
In Boomsday, Buckley hilariously envisions the nation's next great brouhaha generational warfare between profligate Baby Boomers and younger Americans who don't want to be stuck paying the bill, and how this conflict provokes the most outlandish presidential campaign in American history.
Cassandra Devine, an idealistic, straight-A student, was like any other seventeen-year-old Yale hopeful until she learned that her father spent her tuition money on a dotcom start-up, and she would be forced to join the army. Ten years later, Cassandra has become a frustrated Washington spin doctor and devoted nighttime blogger who rails against the excesses of the "Un-greatest" generation and their negligent handling of the mounting Social Security debt. After she learns that her father has remarried and bought his dim-witted son's way into Yale, she politely suggests on her personal blog that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age seventy-five.
This modest proposal catches fire with millions of outraged citizens and an ambitious senator seeking the youth vote for his presidential bid. With the help of Washington's greatest PR strategist, Cassandra and the politician try to ride the issue of euthanasia for Boomers (they call it "Transitioning") all the way to the White House. Their opposition includes the president of the United States, who's running for reelection; a pro-life preacher, who may have killed his own mother in a mysterious automobile accident; and, of course, multitudes of Baby Boomers, who are deeply offended by demonstrations on the golf courses of their retirement resorts.
"[Signature] Reviewed by Jessica Cutler It's the end of the world as we know it, especially if bloggers are setting the national agenda. In his latest novel, Buckley imagines a not-so-distant future when America teeters on the brink of economic disaster as the baby boomers start retiring. Buckley takes on such pressing (however boring) topics as Social Security reform and fiscal solvency, as does his protagonist. And get this: she's a blogger.Buckley's heroine is 'a morally superior twenty-nine-year-old PR chick' who blogs at night about the impending Boomsday budget crisis. Of course, 'she was young, she was pretty, she was blonde, she had something to say.' She has a large, doting audience that eagerly awaits her every blog entry. And her name? Cassandra. And the name of her blog? Also Cassandra. Of course, Buckley doesn't let his allusion get by us:'She was a goddess of something,' another character struggles to remember, which gives his heroine the opportunity to educate us about the significance of her namesake.'Daughter of the king of Troy. She warned that the city would fall to the Greeks,' she explains. 'Cassandra is sort of a metaphor for catastrophe prediction. This is me. It's what I do.' So Cassandra, doing what she does, starts by calling for 'an economic Bastille Day' and her minions take to destroying golf courses in protest. Cassandra grabs headlines and magazine covers, and the president starts wringing his hands over what she might blog about next. Her follow-up: a radical but tantalizingly expedient solution to that most vexing of issues, the Social Security problem Cassandra proposes that senior citizens kill themselves in exchange for tax breaks. Buckley, author of Thank You for Smoking, shows great imagination as he fires his pistol at the feet of his straw women and men. In 300-plus pages, though, it would be nice if he had found a way to endear us to at least one of his characters. Yes, we know that Washington is 'an asshole-rich environment,' as one puts it, but some Tom Wolfe-style self-loathing might be good for characters who use the word touch. Full disclosure: I'm a blogger of Cassandra's generation, and at times the totally over-the-top, relentlessly us-against-them scenario reminded me that I was reading a book written by someone not of the blogging generation, someone who Cassandra would want put down. Oh, the irony in these generationalist feelings. Then again, maybe that's exactly Buckley's point. (Jessica Cutler is the author of The Washingtonienne.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"It would be more fun (and more interesting) to read Buckley if he were meaner and more profound. But if you're looking for a lighter, frothier version of Tom Wolfe...Boomsday is your ticket." Los Angeles Times
"Character development and plot are not Buckley's strong suits, although there is no requirement for them in a book like this....But these are quibbles, not serious flaws. Buckley is so right on with his satire that his (venial) sins can be forgiven." Providence Journal
"The ideal review of a Buckley novel would consist simply of a string of his witty, biting, insightful comments and dialogue." Chicago Sun-Times
"[O]ne of Mr. Buckley's fizziest satires." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"A farcical romp, the novel offers a fresh take on everything from presidential politics to political correctness to religious pomposity. Add to this Buckley's bright writing, his right-on metaphors...and you'll have maybe not an answer to fiscal and religious foibles but, at the very least, a good laugh at their expense." Baltimore Sun
Outraged over the mounting Social Security debt, Cassandra Devine, a charismatic 29-year-old blogger and member of Generation Whatever, incites massive cultural warfare when she politely suggests that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age 75. Her modest proposal catches fire with millions of citizens, chief among them an ambitious senator seeking the presidency. With the help of Washington'sgreatest spin doctor, the blogger and the politician try to ride the issue of euthanasia for Boomers (called transitioning) all the way to the White House, over the objections of the Religious Right, and of course, the Baby Boomers, who are deeply offended by demonstrations on the golf courses of their retirement resorts.
One of America's most hilarious novelists and bestselling author of Thank You for Smoking takes on the plight of aging Baby Boomers in this Swiftian comedy about generational warfare.
About the Author
Christopher Buckley is the author of several books, many of them national bestsellers, including Thank You for Smoking, The White House Mess, God Is My Broker, Little Green Men, and No Way to Treat a First Lady, which won the Thurber Prize for American Humor. He has published more than fifty comic essays in the New Yorker. In 2002, he received the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence. He is the editor of ForbesLife and lives in New York and Washington, D.C.