I wouldn't recommend this if you are a casual listener as I am and cannot listen everyday. I found it confusing and hard to follow. Wolfe uses a lot of descriptions and social commentary which may have been easier to grasp reading the actual book.
Average. Somewhat Monotone.
Years ago I read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it, but was disappointed in the movie. On a whim I decided to buy the audio version. Couldn't have been more pleased.
The story is as good as ever, but Joe Barrett is a MASTER of delivery. Not only did his accents portray the various cultural levels and geographic areas, but the speech patterns were spot on. From the manipulating Reverend Bacon to the somewhat slurry speech of the British tabloid journalist, Peter Fallow to the Bronx vernacular of defense attorney Tommy Killian. And I'll never forget the thunderous voice of Judge Myron Kovitsky. The characters truly "came alive" as I listened.
Highly recommend this as a first read, or as I did: a re-read.
This book should be required reading for all survivors of the financial crisis. Although some of the themes of the book have evolved in the ensuing years since it was written, the overarching issues of income inequality, racial disharmony, and class entitlement still resonate today. Wolfe is especially good at creating a tragic figure, Sherman McCoy, that is at once self-destructive, insecure, arrogant and above all sympathetic. He has taken the simple path that was laid out before him, and has enjoyed the resulting fruits, but can't take the necessary steps to save himself once his bubble is burst. I found myself missing bus stops and train stations frequently while listening to this book, especially at the end, when the entire story climaxes in a fairly shocking and entirely gripping conclusion.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
That's a harsh characterization that is as true as it is misleading. It's true because Wolfe has written a book so deeply steeped in the specific era it was written that it only makes sense in that one context. It's also a tawdry story of little lasting literary merit. It's misleading because that tawdry story does in fact have elements of the universal in it, plus that plethora of 1980s cultural references makes it a charming time capsule of what things were like. This is a terrifically entertaining book. It's a vivid reminder of how much things are still the same and how much things have changed. Joe Barrett does a terrific job of getting all the voices and accents down right. Wolfe does a terrific job of portraying all the different agendas and the ambiguity of how a single version of the facts can be perceived so very differently by all the parties involved.
This was a riveting story about terrible people. This is my first Wolfe and it won't be my last. The portraits of his characters are among the most vividly rendered I can recall any author pulling off. The narrator was quite skilled in pulling off the accents. His weakness was little Campbell, he sounded kind of crazy voicing a little girl, but that is an infrequent issue.
They are all terrible people, let's be honest. Even little Campbell was annoying. Anyway, that is the fun of the book!
The society dinner party was a great opportunity to peak at and giggle at how the
I happened to be listening to the story when there was a very similar story dominating the news. It is interesting how little has changed in the 20+ years since Wolfe wrote the book.
Wolfe and Barrett created a terrific ride from the black hole of wealthy self absorption to the release of penniless self realization. Well developed characters that I could care about along with a story line that was engaging even in it's predictability. Proof that moralizing can occasionally be entertaining as well as edifying.
I just could not finish it. I got about halfway through the second part and found myself feeling like I was on a forced march going "let's just get this one over with." At that point, why finish it? I think the story has promised based on the movie. Unfortunately, Wolfe goes into so much excruciating and unnecessary detail on the most mundane points that you lose focus on the story. Throw in a terrible narrator who overdoes almost every character and I simply could not take it and said, "Next!" Based on my experience with "Man in Full" many years, I should have been wary of another Tom Wolfe book. I won't make the mistake again.
The self destruction of the main character is so overwhelming. More than depressing, almost embarrassing. The narrator did a great job, the story was just a lost cause.
I was initially turned off by this book in that all the characters are negative and bigoted. However, the story grew on me. Much of the credit goes to the narrator, who was awesome with a variety of accents, and inflections. He truly is an actor, not just a reader. I've listened to lots of books on audible but this was by far and away the best narrator.
Wolfe's journalistic eye for detail is fully on display in this brilliant novel. While the writing is admittedly long-winded at times, the patient listener is led on a fascinating journey through high society and the American judicial system. All of the social interactions so deftly described provide illumination into the motivations of the major characters in the novel, which fully brings to life the blazing bonfire of vanities, of so many people's vanities, in the novel's stunning finale. While the novel is set in the New York of the early to mid-1980s, I'm afraid it could easily describe the New York of today. In fact, Wolfe's New York might be a bit tame and naive by today's standards. The reading is equally brilliant. I enjoyed every minute, and I'm looking forward to reading (or listening to) another Wolfe novel soon.