Author: Tom Wolfe
Title: Bonfire of the Vanities
Description: The iconic novel of the 80’s. Bonds trader Sherman McCoy is involved in a crime committed at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong person. Early on, he is confident that his wealth can insulate him, but his world begins to lurch out of control as the novel follows Sherman, the police investigators, the lawyers, the reporters, and various others as the case plays out.
Review Source: Another one of EW’s most influential books on the list I’m reading through.
Plot: Mostly this book is about Sherman McCoy. Is he a Master of the Universe? Or is he just a two-bit criminal? Maybe something in between.
Characters: No one here is innocent; everyone is complicit, and the more we learn about them, the slimier they grow.
Writing style: Wolfe loves to play with peoples’ accents. No reader of this book will ever forget the way Sherman’s bimbo calls him “Shuhman.” This was his first fiction, after having been very successful with non-fiction, and he still writes like a journalist. It’s easy to imagine him witnessing all of these conversations.
Audience: This is literary fiction. Those who enjoy Wolfe’s non-fiction and similar titles would probably also find it worth reading.
Wrap-up: I did not find this a fun read, but it held my interest. 3/5*