America has grown used to larger-than-life politicians: Teflon Don, AOC, MTG, Dark Brandon, and all the rest have injected DC politics with an unmistakable edge of celebrity flair and tabloid intrigue. Yet in 2022, a new player on the national scene outshone them all. George Anthony Devolder Santos, and his revolving door of pseudonyms, shed glaring new light on how far we'd all let our politics slide as his claimed resume was shred to bits in the wake of a longshot run to office from New York's 3rd Congressional District.
From Wall Street gigs to an amateur volleyball career, from embellished claims of Jewish heritage to a fabricated 9/11 story involving his mother's death, Santos's legend continued to grow as his web of lies evaporated in real time. And the only thing wilder than this charlatan embedding himself in the warm, consequence-evading arms of our nation's capital was the Queens con artist's refusal to bow his head in shame. The Santos show continues, as he joins the ranks of high-wattage fakers like Anna Delvey and Elizabeth Holmes.
Newsday alum and PEN/Hemingway honoree Mark Chiusano tells the full (well, as full as can be given the subject) story of Santos here for the first time. From humble years spent in Brazil, to glamorous nights on the west side of Manhattan, to the stunning small-time scams employed to ease his slippery climb up the American society ladder, The Fabulist tells a story you'll have to read for yourself to believe...and even then, it's George Santos, so who's to say for sure.
Combining the very best of boots-on-the-ground journalism, dishy backroom dealings, and glittery details about Gold Coast mansions and bodice-baring drag shows that'd feel just as at home in your next summer beach read, The Fabulist is truly stranger than fiction.
Mark Chiusano covered George Santos as a columnist and editorial writer at New York Newsday, Long Island’s paper of record. As the youngest editorial writer in the paper’s history, he interviewed national leaders like Hillary Clinton and Hakeem Jeffries, tracked and rode along with far-right patriot groups and fringe left activists, and traveled from New Hampshire to Puerto Rico to tell the story of American politics on the ground. He is also a New York City native and fiction writer whose story collection Marine Park received a PEN/Hemingway Award honorable mention. His writing has appeared in places like The Drift, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Guernica, and Zyzzyva.
Chiusano will be in conversation with Alex Altman. Altman is the executive features editor and deputy Washington bureau chief at Time.