The Big Bad Wolfe

Just for the record, I am not a fan of Tom Wolfe. I know he is purported to be the novelist for right wing types, but he just isn’t my cup of tea. I once tried to get through the Bonfire of the Vanities but didn’t finish it. I didn’t even see the movie. Of course it could have something to do with the size of his novels. The current work is 688 pages, his previous work (A Man in Full) is 742, and Bonfire is 704 in paperback. Those are large undertakings for a popular novel. I think I would rather tackle Anna Karenina if I have to approach a work of that size. Added to the mix, believe it or not, is a certain amount of prudery relating to the current book. I am not really all that interested in a book dominated by frank portrayal of college student’s sexual peccadillos. So count me out of the Tom Wolfe fan club I am afraid.

As a public service I will throw up a few links. If you are looking for the scoop on I Am Charlotte Simmons here are a few conversations that might interest you:
Slate is having a book club discussion on his latest release.

– Here is a Weekly Standard review.

The folks over at Bandarlog are discussing the Slate and Weekly Standard reviews.

– And here is pop sociologist David Brooks on Wolfe.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season – oh, and watching golf too).

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1 Comment

  • Kevin: Unlike you I much enjoyed both Bonfire and A Man in Full, however I must say I share your hesitency about taking on Wolfe’s latest novel. On the one hand a novelistic treatment of the fallout associated with a sex saturated society could have the salutory effect of causing deeper reflection about what the degredation of sex has done to both men and women. That having been said I’m hesitant to pay the price of wallowing in the graphic scenes created by Wolfe as a prerequisite to participating in the conversation.

    By the way, I much appreciate your comments in the Russell Kirk discussion group.