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More Accurate than the Nonfiction Versions,
This review is from: Watergate: A Novel (Hardcover)
There is a truth to this novel which is missing from all other versions of Watergate. Mallon manages to bring people to life who are mere stick figures in the laborious histories. Watergate manages to be deeply profound and wildly entertaining at the same time. On top of that, he captures the fundamental truth of the Watergate scandal better than any other version to date.
In fact, Mallon's version of Nixon was recently validated by the National Archives. It recently released President Nixon's love letters to Pat and, as a result of either Mallon's Luck or careful research, the Nixon of these pages is far more capable of writing those romantic and poetic letters than the Richard Nixon we have seen in any history or biography, including Nixon's autobiography.
Compare Mallon's brilliant portrayal of Pat Nixon with Ann Beattie's two dimensional version. Mallon brings Mrs. Nixon alive in a way which fits what we know of her. Mallon may have invented an affair (although he discreetly leaves open the question as to whether the affair was more than a simple friendship), but he captures the thoughts and feelings of the real Mrs. Nixon by using her relationship with this fictional character.
But it is with Fred LaRue, a minor Watergate figure, that Mallon shows his true genius as a writer. Mallon captures this decent, tortured man and makes his story truly moving.
Mallon is one of the best novelists writing today.