A car accident in the Bronx involving Sherman, his girlfriend, and two young lower-class black men sets a match to the incendiary racial and social tensions of 1980s New York City. Suddenly, Sherman finds himself embroiled in the most brutal, high-profile case of the year, as prosecutors, politicians, the press, the police, the clergy, and assorted hustlers rush in to further their own political and social agendas. With so many egos at stake, the last priority on anyone's mind is truth or justice in this bitingly hilarious American satire.
©1987 Tom Wolfe; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A big, bitter, funny, craftily plotted book that grabs you by the lapels and won't let go." (New York Times Book Review)
"Sheer entertainment against a fabulous background....Often hilarious, and much, much more." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Erupting from the first line with noise, color, tension and immediacy....brilliant." (Publishers Weekly)
I did not realize how broken I was until Wolfe showed me the light. It is important to be reminded that one cannot change human nature. And what about that narration!
It's a page-turner, or the audible counterpart.
There are no positive characters. It's hard to really like any of them, yet that's part of the fun Sherman exhibits some nobility and some growth -- that's all we can expect.
Joe Barrett was absolutely fantastic. He did all accents excellently. Really brought the book to life.
Toward the end it looks as though the innocent will prevail -- but that's too much to hope for in Tom Wolfe's world where nobody is truly innocent. There's a Dostoevskian cast to this modern American novel.
I work. I ski. I play. I write. I have a family. I garden. I coach. I volunteer. I sketch. I run. I read.
I have not read the print version. I saw the movie after listening to the book. As usual, the book is better.
I like the intertwined lives of the characters.
I like Sherman McCoy's criminal attorney.
I have no extreme reaction. However, it is highly enjoyable.
I'm going to look up more Tom Wolfe books.
Tom Wolfe is top notch. Here is a fascinating story of race, politics, human capital, and the struggle of life, both ordinary and extraordinary, told from myriad perspectives. Nearly thirty years after its initial publication, the themes explored by the book will strike familiar chords in the wake of Enron, Lehman Brothers, and Anthony Wiener. The privileged screwing over the poor, self-destructive narcissism, the perils of ambition- all are present and examined with Wolfe's trademark low-key wit.
Ironic then that Joe Barrett's atrocious, arguably racist performance of the book will leave the listener scratching their head with questions related to the "post-racial" society in which it was recorded. White characters, including those with British, Bronx, and Yiddish accents are well within his wheelhouse and he performs these with aplomb. But when charged with rendering accurate portrayals of Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities, Barrett reverts to a comical southern drawl somewhere between Foghorn Leghorn and Uncle Remus. If you doubt my assessment, simply listen to the first five minutes in which the put-upon Mayor of New York is lambasted by Harlem hecklers, rendered in a dialect that makes the Black Crows from "Dumbo" seem like Jane Elliott by comparison.
I don't blame Barrett; he's a decent reader. His other work is better and this book was a real challenge. But the producers at Blackstone should be ashamed. It is unbelievable that this recording was produced in 2009 and released as-is. There are plenty of other performers (Dion Graham comes to mind) who could have delivered a better experience. Then again, considering that most audiobook listeners are White, affluent, and well-educated (including yours truly), it's no big surprise that the production values mirror the general indifference of the target demographic.
But not all is lost. At first, I was annoyed that the performance was distracting me from the content of the novel. But then the failings of the recording began to mirror the issues raised in the novel and I came to enjoy, even relish the surreal, recursive experience. Marshall McLuhan was right- the medium is the message, and that message is Ouroboros the snake, choking on its own racist tail from high above the digital divide. Hooray for the future!
A fellow listener inclined to share my opinion on these productions. Maybe even inspire someone toward a powerful, or educational audiobook!
This had me gripped! I truly loved this book. There are so many other stories that got me hooked but being one of the newer ones it was easier and more fun for me. So many parts lasso me in because of the incredible description but though the older books are good it was so much better with this one being able to relate to all of the technical and mechanical stuff described.
This is a masterful, rip-roaring, careening portrait of New York in the 1980's. It is told in the virtuostic voice of the snide but oh-so-true verbal acrobat, Tom Wolfe. It is a gimlet-eyed collective portrait of 10 or 20 ... or is it 100? ... fleshed-out, colorful characters, and an entertaining story line that would make Charles Dickens proud.
Not least, Joe Barrett's reading renders this multitude with a polyphonic verisimilitude that is captivating and impossible to put down.
Bravo to both the author and the reader!
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.
A great contemporary story.
The main character's gradual descent into the maw of the lower quarters
Maybe, but many of the voices he used during the narration of this book were so grating and annoying I felt like fast forwarding past them. The voice he used for the daughter Campbell would be an example - it was piercing and painfully irritating. The characters in the judicial system and the city jail were, down to a one, overly loud and obnoxious; too many times these voices sent me diving for the volume control. Just overdone, dumb, and annoying.
I enjoyed this book once it really got going! The characters are wonderfully done and there is such witty humor in between them and their perceptions of themselves. I find it interesting that this book is seen as an iconic 1980s novel, because I felt, reading it, like it could easily be about the present day. The excess of capitalistic Wall Street, the race tensions, the media's ravenous bad taste - it's all there!
I have no idea.
I don't know could not tell exactly what the genre was.
Like a black and white movie when they first became talkies. Over acting.
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