End the duopoly

Vox Book Club, Rodham, week 1: How Rodham functions as political fanfiction

Hillary Rodham Clinton during her senior year at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, 1969. Welcome, book clubbers! This July, the Vox Book Club is delving into Rodham , Curtis Sittenfeld’s alternate history that explores a world in which Hillary Rodham never married Bill Clinton. Instead, Sittenfeld’s Hillary becomes a senator on her own — and she ends up running for president against Bill.

There are a lot of possible approaches to take with a book like Rodham , so this month, we’re changing up our usual discussion format to investigate the book theme by theme as opposed to chapter by chapter. This week, we’re talking about Rodham as a form of political RPF.

RPF, or Real Person Fiction, refers to any fiction written about real people, as opposed to fiction written about fictional characters. There’s a long tradition of RPF in the historical novels that frequently appear on the New York Times bestseller list, but there’s also a plethora of communities on the internet where amateur writers share stories they’ve written about contemporary celebrities, influencers, and even politicians.

To fully understand Rodham ’s place in this strange and murky genre, I decided to call in an expert. So for this week’s discussion, Vox’s […]

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