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The Bonfire of the Vanities | [Tom Wolfe]

The Bonfire of the Vanities

Tom Wolfe's best-selling modern classic tells the story of Sherman McCoy, an elite Wall Street bond trader who has it all: wealth, power, prestige, a Park Avenue apartment, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress - until one wrong turn sends Sherman spiraling downward into a humiliating fall from grace. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Tom Wolfe's best-selling modern classic tells the story of Sherman McCoy, an elite Wall Street bond trader who has it all: wealth, power, prestige, a Park Avenue apartment, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress - until one wrong turn sends Sherman spiraling downward into a humiliating fall from grace.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1222 )
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4.3 (755 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Chad Kingwood, TX, United States 04-14-15
    Chad Kingwood, TX, United States 04-14-15 Member Since 2013
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    13
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    Story
    "slow at first."

    awesome book, hard to follow at first. once started the story was incredible. would recommend to anyone. the inclusion of all aspects of financial stability made it worthwhile.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Levine 03-17-15
    M. Levine 03-17-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Good Listen"

    The narrator's exaggerated Black dialect freaked me out a little, but once I overcame that, I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed the evolution (devolution?) of the main character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph D. Cervelli edison, new jersey 03-10-15
    Joseph D. Cervelli edison, new jersey 03-10-15

    joeeeeeeee

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    1
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    "can't believe it took me almost 30 years!!!"

    such great detail and wordsmithing and the narrator was fantastic!....the girl with brown lipstick, the lion of dunning spunget, the lord of the pampas!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret portervillle, CA, United States 02-21-15
    Margaret portervillle, CA, United States 02-21-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fantastic"

    In the beginning I wasn't sure if I'd really like it since it took a little while to start for me but once it did it was addictive. Every character from the judge to Reverend Bacon to Sherman felt real and brilliant. The narrator was genuinely awesome with his sultry woman's voice to opera shrill to his greasy wise guy voice; it all added to the experience beautifully. A++

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ana 02-09-15
    Ana 02-09-15

    11x17

    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "Extraordinary storytellingdrama,"
    If you could sum up The Bonfire of the Vanities in three words, what would they be?

    drama, energy, suspense


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bonfire of the Vanities?

    The descriptions of the Bronx courthouse


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    Sherman McCoy's lawyer


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was addicted....


    Any additional comments?

    The reader is outstanding. His range of accents, tone, and voice brings each character to life. The book was good, but hearing it read by such a master made it superb.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Chippewa Falls, WI, United States 01-31-15
    Kathy Chippewa Falls, WI, United States 01-31-15 Member Since 2013

    This is the only way to get through all the books I want to enjoy...and still I'm behind!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Took Effort"

    Verbose, long and drawn out, but kept at it. I know this is reviewed to be an incredible work of fiction, and while I think the title is perfect for the book, I thought the whole thing a bit tedious hoping for it to really get exciting. It did not.
    Admittedly I read it because the movie had good reviews, but half-way through the book, I checked on the movie's summary and it was not close to the book having thrown out some major characters...therefore, kept to the book.
    The performance was very good and accents for New York boroughs great, but the overall of the women was poor. All the women sounded the same: tired housewives and masculine. (Okay, the narrator was a man, but still!) Sorry, but true.
    I think that in retrospect the book is making more sense to me, but it was an effort to get through the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elle 12-14-14
    elle 12-14-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Still Holds Up"

    Tom Wolfe doesn't create believable female characters and the narrator doesn't do believable female voices, but despite these failings, this books still holds up with its unflinching look into the mind of a "Master of the Universe" with feet of clay. Somehow, the story helps you find a way to feel some compassion for a character who is really quite despicable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 10-20-14
    Patricia 10-20-14
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    23
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    "Intense"
    What did you love best about The Bonfire of the Vanities?

    This book had many twists and many character changes as it progressed. This book show how politics play an important part in our society.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sherman and his character change throughout the story. This story shows how there is a bit of animal in all of us.


    Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to any of Joe Barrett's performances but I am going to research this farther.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This was a book that I wanted to listen to in all one sitting. The changes in the characters personality as the story progressed kept me wondering who would lie next for their own personal gains.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorraine Russo Towaco, NJ USA 10-10-14
    Lorraine Russo Towaco, NJ USA 10-10-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Love this book"

    Tom Wolfe is great, the narrator is perfect for the story...hated to see it end

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 07-30-14
    Tim United States 07-30-14 Member Since 2011

    Putting books on the back burner.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Eighties Novel"

    I really like the way that Tom Wolfe wrote "The Bonfire of the Vanities." Instead of focusing on one main character throughout the extensive novel, Mr. Wolfe writes the story with many sub plots. I like it because I found it to be enjoying and not draining with the tale of one person.

    There are many characters to like and dislike. The story is fast pace and engaging. As an American classic (per say), I can relate to the story more because I was familiar with the times in the 80's, New York, Wall Street and the different social classes.

    Often times, when I read a classic, I sometime feel lost in the book because I wasn't born in their era of storytelling. The Bonfire of the Vanities is a good book for someone that were raise in the 80's because they can easily follow without referring back to an Encyclopaedia Britannica.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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