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)
Joe Barrett. The different characters were immediately recognizable by the way he portrayed them, and oh boy, did the voices match the personalities! I've listened to dozens of audiobooks and the only person who gave me a similar experience was Jim Dale with the Harry Potter series. Mr. Barrett brought out everything that's great about listening to books.
Slight spoiler alert! Although it's his earliest novel, it's the last one I've encountered and I had the same reaction to the ending of the book as I have to the previous three - I'm left wanting more (where's the real ending?). I guess that's probably what he's going for, but it prevents me from granting that fifth star (as if Mr. Wolfe cares).
The stripped down and somewhat cruel look at human weaknesses
Amazing voices characterization
Tom Killian. I bet he has the best stories.
I have never seen the movie, so my take on the novel wasn't influenced by pre-set characters from the big screen. Loved the story, and although I was sad to see it end, I truly enjoyed the journey.
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.
Though the characters and their circumstances are a bit cliché, Tom Wolfe's observations have a real bite and still inform the current events of today, God help us... Listening to Joe Barret read is a marvel--loved his work on Owen Meany and this is even better!
I would rank it in the top ten, among Atlas Shrugged, Unbroken, East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath, Fall of Giants, Gone with the Wind, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
It's hard to find a favorite character. There weren't many admirable people.
The way he changed his voice, evoking classes and prejudices.
A Perfect Storm of Classes
It was interesting to see some of the characters recognize their own faults, only to be unable to do anything about them.
Business owner , philanthropist.
You feel for the main character after awhile, even though he is a jerk. It had some good observations of the justice system that were defiantly good. Just few and far between.
Those who are more interested in racial or economic politics. Or men.
Not necessarily. I just couldn't connect to the characters.
Joe does an EXCELLENT job. His dialects are almost flawless and each character has a very distinct voice so I rarely got confused about who was speaking.
It was very thorough. The author did not leave out any details.
Tom Wolfe is obviously a good writer, just incredibly verbose. His descriptions go on and on, sometimes at the expense of the plot or character development. After a while, I just wanted to say, "Get on with it!"
Yes, the reading was great until the last couple hours. Then the reader started over acting for the characters and I thought it was distracting.
Joe Barrett narrates with great tone, speed and expression. Also listen to 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' for more from this narrator.
This novel took me back to the 80s with reference to the lavish decor and excess shoulder paddage. Characters are well defined and interesting enough to keep one's attention throughout. Loved it!
I like books that have interesting characters and easy to follow plots. For example, Cormoran Strike, is a great character for me.
I read Bonfire of the Vanities when it first came out and liked it. I just finished listening to it and finally understood what Tom Wolfe was trying to do. This book is fantastic listened to. I listen to 100 books a year and this was one of the best that I've ever heard. I think Wolfe meant it to be read. The narrator was spectacular with all his voices and the characters all came out well developed and interesting. The end of the book was somewhat disappointing considering how great the first 99% was. Highly recommended.
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