To many it might seem strange that Donald Trump's recent departure from his election promises has made me think of Marcel Aymé's story about a character in a book who wanted to avoid her destiny. What could a French author of absurd comical novels have to do with the political analysis of Donald Trump's strange about-face from the foreign policy he promised before his election? Marcel Ayme, in "Le Romancier Martin," the first story in Derriere chez Martin, writes of a novelist who developed a bad habit of killing off most of his principal characters and even some less important ones, which made very depressing reading and diminished sales. The characters themselves and Martin's editor complained that their life expectancy was grossly inferior to that of characters in other novels. Madame Soubiron, the wife of a principal character, somehow sensing that she would be next to die, decided to challenge her fate. First she visited the writer and begged him to make certain changes, but he claimed to have little say in what his characters did. Once he had created them, he said, the die was cast. Although it seemed impossible for a mere fictitious character to influence her role, Mrs Soubiron ultimately managed this by deviating from what was expected of her in strange and unusual ways which the novelist could not have considered in advance. For instance, one evening at dinner, she took off her shoe and put it on her plate. Instead of eating the slice of beef she had served herself, she dropped it down the front of her dress and rubbing her stomach, mimed how tasty it was. As she continued to act more and more absurdly out of character, she eventually escaped death.