The Captain and the Glory (Knopf) is a quick Dave Eggers, a slim stopgap of a novel between The Parade (which we reviewed here) and whatever’s up next. While that novel is a sparse farce populated by short, punchy sentences and minimal set pieces, this one is a direct and wordy parody of the Trump presidency featuring not-so-subtle stand-ins for major players in Trump’s life from Ivanka to Putin to Kim Jong-un.

The setup: The Captain is a brash, stupid, loathsome narcissist who falls ass-backward into the highest leadership position on a ship called the Glory.

What follows is a spoof of certain lowlights in 45’s White House: “Certain People” are either thrown off the ship or placed in crab cages. A Robert Mueller-type investigates the Captain and presents his findings in a bound book that nobody aboard the Glory reads. Meanwhile, the Captain scrawls incoherent messages that everybody on board reads.

The Trump presidency is such a bizarre and nonsensical event in American history that it almost seems beyond parody. Often spoofs of this charade feel needless, as electing somebody like Trump was such an obviously poor decision that a cautionary tale would ring hollow and a straight-up spoof could never live up to the absurdity of the real thing.

Seriously, tell any of the best novelists in America to satirize an obese septuagenarian who’s addicted to Sudafed and paid more money than most households bring in in a year to pay off a porn star with whom he slept while his wife was pregnant about a decade before he became the most powerful man in the country. They’d probably avoid the topic because it’s too insane to touch.

Dave Eggers is one of the best novelists in America right now, though, and he likes to get weird with his stories, so here we are.

The Captain and the Glory handles the absurdity of Trump more deftly than some other very funny people have: John Mulaney’s bit about a horse loose in a hospital captured how unprecedented all this is, while Max Greenfield’s yarn about becoming a youth soccer referee highlighted how unqualified 45 is to hold the highest office in the land.

These and other parodies of Trump are hilarious but fail to capture the horror of this administration. Dave Eggers doesn’t shy away from allegorizing the child concentration camps or the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Just as he does in The Parade, Eggers presents these events matter-of-factly. He doesn’t normalize them, but introduces them, already normalized within the world he’s constructed. It’s an interesting world, but it’s not that different from ours—a testament to how far we’ve strayed from normalcy.

The Captain and the Glory is now available for purchase.

Dave Eggers is the author of many books, including The CircleThe Monk of Mokha, What is the What, A Hologram for the King, and The Lifters.

He is founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a humor website, and a journal of new writing, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. McSweeney’s also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world.

Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of youth writing and tutoring centers around the United States. Numerous other organizations worldwide operate with inspiration from the 826 National model. Realizing the need for greater college access for low-income students, Eggers founded ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible.