The Bonfire of the Vanities: A Novel

Front Cover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Feb 21, 2002 - Fiction - 704 pages

Vintage Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities, the #1 bestseller that will forever define late-twentieth-century New York style.

"No one has portrayed New York Society this accurately and devastatingly since Edith Wharton" (The National Review)

“A page-turner . . . Brilliant high comedy.” (The New Republic)


Sherman McCoy, the central figure of Tom Wolfe's first novel, is a young investment banker with a fourteen-room apartment in Manhattan. When he is involved in a freak accident in the Bronx, prosecutors, politicians, the press, the police, the clergy, and assorted hustlers high and low close in on him, licking their chops and giving us a gargantuan helping of the human comedy, of New York in the 1980s, a city boiling over with racial and ethnic hostilities and burning with the itch to Grab It Now.

Wolfe's novel is a big, panoramic story of the metropolis that reinforces the author's reputation as the foremost chronicler of the way we live in America.

Adapted to film in 1990 by director Brian De Palma, the movie stars Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, and Morgan Freeman.

 

Selected pages

Contents

Mutt on Fire
1
From the Fiftieth Floor
47
King of the Jungle
72
The Girl with Brown Lipstick
101
Catching the Fish
161
The Case
190
Some Brit Named Fallow
207
Saturdays Saturnine Lunchtime
229
The Words on the Floor
245
The Last of the Great Smokers
278
The Masque of the Red Death
340
The Favor Bank
387
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Tom Wolfe (1930-2018) was one of the founders of the New Journalism movement and the author of contemporary classics like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, as well as the novels The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons. As a reporter, he wrote articles for The Washington Post, the New York Herald Tribune, Esquire, and New York magazine, and is credited with coining the term, “The Me Decade.” Among his many honors, Tom was awarded the National Book Award, the John Dos Passos Award, the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence, the National Humanities Medal, and National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lived in New York City.

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