Tom Wolfe can do no wrong and this book is no exception. Like his wonderful A Man in Full, his central character, Sherman McCoy, is spared no humiliation in his fall from grace right to the bitter end. The characters are many and completely fleshed-out, adding nuance from absolutely every point-of-view.
Narration is excellent.
(My only wish is that they hadn't botched the movie version so badly. This could be a wonderful piece of cinema.)
I have never seen the film so I came to this book without any preconceived notions. When I was looking for a new audio book, I read some of the reviews and saw reviews stating it was read well and the accents were believable. I am not sure where those people come from but I found the accents very annoying and not at all correct. Being from NY myself, the exaggerated accent made me almost embarrassed for the reader who seemed to be trying too hard. The main character's upper class snooty way of speaking was comical to say the very least. That being said, I did enjoy the story and will rent the film to compare. I would recommend this audio book even if it was a bit too long.
Literally anyone else in the world.
Every character was a trite, hackneyed stereotype. No one talks the way these characters talk... except when being exaggerated for comedic purposes. Of course the main character wall street dude is from Yale and talks like the evil preppy, upturned collar, rival high school football jock from every teen-romp comedy movie in the '80s. OF COURSE. Also, has the narrator ever actually heard a person from the south talk? Or did he just watch a bunch of Fog-Horn Leghorn episodes for his research on accents? The book itself is incredibly long and a crashing bore. Plot turns happen on complete random luck occurences (we call that lazy writing). I found myself rolling my eyes every 10 minutes or so at something that was so unbelieveably inaccurate about the financial world or about New York in the 1980s.
I gave up listening to this before I was even halfway through, when I realized I was having to force myself to keep listening. I kept hoping something would spark my interest, but once you wade around the foul language and the men cheating on their wives or plannning on cheating on their wives, there was not much left. I think the narrator did it a disservice with the over-the-top voice for Sherman, made him even more unlikeable and hard to listen to. If I could go lower than 1 star, I would.
I really enjoyed this book. It was so tragically sad in the way it portrayed the utter worst of every group involved. I think the one line that really gripped me was "And Sherman's regal chin sunk to his chest." When a book has a line that grips my heart, it is an important book for me
This book was long. That is about the only good thing I can say for it. It reads like pop fiction without any of the fun. It was dull with over cooked plot and characters.
I did not like the characters and felt that I could not relate to them. I don't know if it was due to stereotyping each of the characters, or due to lack of character development. The book was way to long and much of it seemed pointless, perhaps because the author rambled a lot through out it.
I finished the book, but I had to drag myself to the end! Not an entertaining book.
It's amazing that a book 30 years old could remain so relevant and even prescient. Bonfire has long been one of my favorite books. So, as a Super-Fan, I could hardly imagine how any book by Tom Wolfe could find room for improvement. Yet, this performance by Joe Barrett proves that even "perfect" has wiggle room. This audio is so entertaining, I've actually listened to it numerous times, much like one watches an iconic movie over and over through the years.
I loved this book. Looking through the other reviews, I see some some people love it and some people hate it.
Some call it racist... And the characters tend to be caricatures of stereotypes. But that furthers the story, and every racial and social economic group is equally portrayed.
Some say the story is slow, and the plot isn't that well developed. The plot isn't what makes this story great. It's the intimate portrayals of the main characters, with their many faults on full display. The way they preen, rationalize, and make themselves the center of the universe in their own minds.
This is a story with no good guys. Read it if you love lavish descriptions of events and places, and if you like unflinching character portrayals.
If you want a rousing quick plot and easily defined good and bad, look elsewhere.