Reality Doesn’t Enter Into It

A new film version of the classic novel, All The King’s Men, turns on the classic American storyline of a “man of the people” who beats the odds and achieves political success by playing up his touch with the common voter. But as much as Americans love this kind of story, we’ve never come close to acting out the fantasy at the polls. So “does a real-life political truth — the fact that voters generally don’t end up pulling the lever for a reflection of themselves — lessen the achievement of All the King’s Men? Can a novel be a work of art — and still get its field all wrong?”