President Barack Obama wipes sweat from his head during a speech on climate change, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at Georgetown University in Washington. Obama is proposing sweeping steps to limit heat-trapping pollution from coal-fired power plants and to boost renewable energy production on federal property. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Barack Obama is so famous he has transcended reality, and become a fictional character. Obama makes an appearance in
The book takes place in
The fictional Obama infers (or says he infers) that the woman’s husband is playing bass, and that someone close to him has died recently.
“I gathered that, something about a man named Jones.”
“Yeah, yes, he was supposed to be here, he played the organ. It’s Cochise Jones.”
“Cochise Jones, okay.”
Perhaps the name registered, a shallow footprint tracked in the sand of the senator’s memory. But the print might as easily have been left by
“He was supposed to be here, to play. It just happened, he passed this afternoon.”
“I am so sorry to hear that.”
"He was like a father to my husband.”
Somehow, easily, the band morphed into a cover of Bad Medicine’s “Trespasser.”
“Thank you for telling me that,” Obama said. “You know, I could hear it in his playing. Something grieving. But I didn’t know what it was.”
All politicians have tricks for bonding with voters, but this passage gives the inner-directed Obama more credit for emotional intelligence than he deserves – but not more than a
Obama is a big Stevie Wonder fan, though. In fact, he and Michelle talked about their love of Stevie’s music on their first date. So Chabon got that right.