|Ann Beattie blends bits and lists of biography and conjecture on Pat Nixon, fiction, and exegesis of short stories. (Associated Press/File)|
Lost in the funhouse
Hybrid melange reveals more about writer and limits of fiction than first lady
Mrs. Nixon is a hybrid conglomeration of a book, bookended by a list of “Mrs. Nixon’s Nicknames, Including her Code Name as First Lady’’ (Starlight) and a chronology of her life. In between, its brief chapters include biographical fragments and lists, fictional attempts to capture the experiences and thoughts of President and Mrs. Nixon, exegeses of classic short stories, and reflections on Nixon kitsch, other books about the Nixons, the nature of fiction, and more. So what is this book?