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4.0 von 5 Sternen In a New York state of mind
Tom Wolfe's kinetic style of writing takes some getting used to. He piles words on top of words, images on top of images, flinging them all at the reader with a fastball pitch. The pitch, though, is well-thrown.
Wolfe's subject is New York City during the 1980s. He touches as many groups as he can -- wealthy Upper East Side socialites, tabloid journalists,...
Veröffentlicht am 29. Juli 2000 von Krista

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Die, Yuppie scum!
I have been a Tom Wolfe fan for over two decades but continue to think that his real talent is for the essay and not for long fiction. Like Mailer, he seems to be able to string words together with unnerring skill but has trouble sustaining a tight narrative. Mostly, for me, what kept this book from coming alive was my dislike for the main characters. I just didn't...
Veröffentlicht am 3. Dezember 1999 von Doug Vaughn


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4.0 von 5 Sternen In a New York state of mind, 29. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
Tom Wolfe's kinetic style of writing takes some getting used to. He piles words on top of words, images on top of images, flinging them all at the reader with a fastball pitch. The pitch, though, is well-thrown.
Wolfe's subject is New York City during the 1980s. He touches as many groups as he can -- wealthy Upper East Side socialites, tabloid journalists, criminals and burnt-out agents of justice in the Bronx, cut-throat sleazy lawyers, unscrupulous Wall Street stockbrokers... No class of people escapes having its faults exposed in Wolfe's sharp, accurate prose.
Wolfe is sociologist first, novelist second. He probes the psychology of all these disparate groups and finds a common denominator: selfishness. All people are out for themselves no matter who is destroyed along the way.
At the same time he satirizes the dark side of the human experience, Wolfe makes it impossible to hate any of the characters. There is no true villain in this story. As readers, we are left with just the uncomfortable sensation of recognizing human nature's ugly parts.
"How much differently would you act in this situation?" is Wolfe's implicit question. There are no easy answers.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Die, Yuppie scum!, 3. Dezember 1999
I have been a Tom Wolfe fan for over two decades but continue to think that his real talent is for the essay and not for long fiction. Like Mailer, he seems to be able to string words together with unnerring skill but has trouble sustaining a tight narrative. Mostly, for me, what kept this book from coming alive was my dislike for the main characters. I just didn't care what happened to them. Rather, nothing could be bad enough. This is pure prejudice on my part, but I can't get past it. I hate these folks - their lifestyle, their values, their friends, their work, their entire social world - and I really don't want to read about them. Certainly not read this many pages. Couldn't he have punctured the hero's little life in half the number of pages and not left the reader so numb?
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Incisive, hilarious, harrowing, and timeless., 30. September 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
I can't help but be amused at the irony of how this satirical masterpiece, among whose targets is the ridiculous overpoliticization of our age, tends to be viewed by its admirers and detractors alike through ideological blinders. Some view it as an attack on the "Decade Of Greed," as if that basic human frailty could be confined to a single period of time. Some see it as a jeremaid against liberalism, as if the more asinine PC platitudes of the Left somehow discredit the entire liberal enterprise. Some view it as a repudiation of the wealthy, although Wolfe shows in agonizing detail that greed, lust, envy, ruthless ambition and pathological self-absorption can be found on all the rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. Others think it's strictly about New York, and in one sense they're right; but most of the foibles depicted in "Bonfire" can be found in Anyburg, U.S.A. Others grouse that the characters are too morally ambiguous: McCoy is too much an admixture of hero, villain, and victim for them to know how to respond to him. And where's the happy ending?
Look, the whole point of good satire is to shed light on the more pathetic aspects of the human condition, not to grind specific social, cultural, or political axes or to prescribe panaceas. What "Bonfire," like all good satire, does is force us to confront the demons in our own hearts and minds and reexamine our motivations and actions. Wolfe's book has something to offend (and challenge) everyone: rich folks, poor folks, blacks, whites, Jews, Christians, agnostics, New Yorkers, non-New Yorkers, liberals, conservatives, politicians, journalists, lawyers, cops, crooks, bums, husbands, wives. This novel transcends time, place, and ideology. It's one for the ages.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Hold that left fist high, O Master of the Universe...., 19. April 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
I don't wish to make a proclamation that this is the "best American book ever written," nor do I want to complain about an "inadequate" ending. All I can say about this book is that, from the first chapter's over-the-top description of the mayor's speech in Harlem, "Bonfire" consistently held my attention. (I'm sorry to say that I can't say the same about the more recent "A man in Full.") The sheer unfortunate reality of Wolfe's writing is, as many will tell you, a precise color photograph taken then and there in 1987, complete with polarizing filter and an all-too-true vibrancy. It's the kind of book that might be depressing to read soon after its publication and yet evokes quite a few biting, almost nostalgic memories of those infamously coarse upwardly-mobile days of yore. And while I was a mere four years old when I myself was caught in the middle of that web of 58th-and-Sutton "would you like to draw pictures in the Met, Samantha?" Upward Mobility, this seems to accurately capture that era that I at the time failed to understand but am now sure existed just as Wolfe has said.
And yet "Bonfire" is by no means historical fiction. Rather, our good friend Tom manages to do what I've always maintained a good satirist should do: Keep a perfect distance. Wolfe manages to edge close enough to his characters to dig into their minds and show us what's inside -- and yet he stays far enough away that he can poke fun and them with his usual slightly-supercilious air.
This perfect distance of his seems to be what ensures a constantly entertaining read. Seldom do the often-lengthy descriptions bore the reader; such minor allusions as that to the "tub and shower stall module -- module! -- a single molded unit that deflected slightly when he stepped into the tub" remain startling real, making the abrupt ending not at all unsatisfying but rather entirely appropriate and understandable; with literature this interesting, why would one ask for a happy ending?
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Greed comes in all sizes, shapes, colors and class lines, 14. Juli 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
Outstanding! The story at first seems to meander, but even Wolfe's seemingly innocuous first 3 chapters serve their purpose. Sherman McCoy is such a completely self-centered, sheltered, wealthy individual that the mere sight of a young black male in his posh Manhattan neighborhood practically gives him a panic attack. Wolfe also skillfully shows how the sophisticated, Yale-educated stockbroker Sherman is reduced to a hormone-ridden high-school boy at the prospect of a secret rendezvous with his sexy, desirable young mistress, Maria. His bumbling phone call to his wife Judy prepares us for exactly how poorly he will be prepared to handle any events that deviate even slightly from his closed, insular life. The other 3 main characters are just as sharply drawn. Larry Kramer is the poor man's Sherman McCoy. Just as Sherman risks everything he has, including his marriage, for a woman he lusts over, Kramer does the same, risking the opportunity of a lifetime to act out on his! ! unfulfilled fantasies of "the girl with the brown lipstick". Reverend Bacon, an obvious parody of Al Sharpton, is shown in all of his self-righteous posturing and slick insincerity (his motivations in "helping victims" are less than pure). Peter Fallow, the British tabloid "journalist", is a first-rate opportunist who uses other people's tragedies to save his flagging career (he's desperate to get the "Big Story", truth be damned, since he's about to be fired for his habitual drunkenness). His snobbery about the crude "Yanks" provide a lot of the humor; as much as he reviles Americans, he is not averse to mooching dinners and drinks from them. One of the funniest chapters consists of his dinner with Maria's tycoon husband. The finest creation of the secondary characters is Myron "Mike" Kovitsky, the no-nonsense judge who won't buckle under to the pressures of popular demand. His manner in dealing with the caged crimi! ! nals, for instance, is a classic: he gets down to their lev! el of cat-calling in his own unique, vulgar way. This stubborn trait never changes throughout the novel; he is perhaps the only truly noble character to be found. I wish there had been more memorable female characters; as it is, Maria is the only stand-out among the "social X-rays and lemon tarts", including Judy McCoy (I would have liked to see her character expanded). Predictably, Maria plays a large part in the resulting comic tragedy and shows herself to be completely self-centered, utterly without a conscience and purely carnal in her instincts. Maria, not the sterotypical fragile Southern belle she at first appears to be, is not easily intimidated and proves to be much more of a ruthless cut-throat than Sherman the Scheming Stockbroker, who soon falls apart at work as well as in his personal life. The satire is first-rate, although some of the "privileged party" scenes are occasionally dragged out too long. Wolfe shows that there is no limit or except! ! ions to greed and opportunism in any class line, from the blacks in the Bronx to the WASP-y Manhattan socialites to the British tabloid "sleaze journalists". Some people have suggested that the epilogue was a cop-out; I happened to like it, because it provided a bit of realism to the satire. Especially observe how Sherman, as an accused criminal, is the toast of Manhattan, and after his trial, appears to have been deserted.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The 1980's Between Two Covers, 27. Juli 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
From it's thrilling opening to its open-ended conclusion, this is a book you not only want to keep reading and reading but never forget about afterwards. All the characters - their wants, fears, ambitions, and failures - make them human and believable. Depraved though they may all be, they are too complex merely to be shrugged off as "unlikable." What makes this book great is not only its wonderful and on-point observations of New York but also its brilliant little touches: "The Masters of the Universe," the wonderful "Hack hack hack hacking" laughs, the hilarious tabloid headline "Scalp Grandma, Then Rob Her" and on and on and on. I predict that fifty years from now school kids will be reading this along with "The Great Gatsby" as one of the defining novels of the twentieth century. It is a fierce and uncompromising look at "the way we live now" and its greatness comes from the fact that it doesn't spare anyone. I could write a whole book about how good "Bonfire" is and surely this book exists on so many levels that years from now people will write multitudes about its numerous meanings. And so on. One question: what does "Heh-heggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh" mean?
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5.0 von 5 Sternen AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE!, 3. November 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
This book flawlessly captures the hypocrisy, the corruption , the dynamics and the manipulative, agenda driven forces that are STILL at work (though to a lesser degree) in New York City to this day. While some choose to focus on hating Sherman McCoy and what he represents, I choose to focus on the morally bankrupt media and "Reverend" Bacon aspects of this magnificent morality play. Today the media is driven by the credo "while the facts may be interesting, they are irrelevant" when a story such as this explodes across the headlines. Reverand Baconesque characters are given legitimacy and muggers are portrayed as altar boys and honor students in the media's zeal to create a story by tearing down heretofore legitimate institutions and/or people. While some readers complain about the ending of this book I do not. The book ends a lot like real life. There is no closure, there are no pat and easy endings. Only a struggle to get thru the day and the day after that. Sherman McCoy abandons all pretensions after hitting rock bottom and, instead of crawling into a hole and dying, he rededicates himself to redemption regardless of the cost. I like the man Sherman McCoy became.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent! A No-Holds Barred Attack On Eighties' Culture, 18. September 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
I am an English major, and THE BONFIRES OF THE VANITIES is one of the few books I have ever read which has caused me to laugh out loud. For this reason, I believe it belongs alongside Catch-22 and Breakfast of Champions as one of the funniest an most intelligent satires of the 20th century. I will admit that I laughed the most loudly at the obvious, although well-set-up punch lines. However, the real joy of reading this book is not the trip-and-fall jokes, but rather the wry, dry, witty, and acid-tongued descriptions, characterizations, and prose which Wolfe fills his pages with.
Wolfe is a little bit pretensious, a little bit obnoxious, and very funny. It is not racist to make fun of blacks if you make fun of WASPs, Jews, the British, men, women, and just about every other possible demographic group known to man.
A telling sign of a wildly overambitious novel is one who's ending has difficulty wrapping up the exploits of all of the main characters without feeling contrived or forced. Unfotuntaly, this is where THE BONFIRES OF THE VANITIES fails. But for over 600 pages, it is a knee-slapping, bellylaughing, observation-deck yawp of a novel, and a whale of a good read.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Hilarious Portrait of Greed in the 80's., 14. April 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
The 80's were a time where people thought they were indestructable. Including Sherman McCoy. A hotshot investment banker he has it all. A Beautiful 12 Room Apt in Central Park, An Adorable Six Year Old Daughter who attends an exclusive Private School and a Interior Decorator Wife. He also has a mistress on the other side of town named Maria who's much older husband is the driving force behind a multi-million dollar airplane empire and together they take the wrong exit in the wrong section of town and hit an innocent black man named Henry Lamb and then the chaos ensues. From Reverend Bacon's quest for showing how racist New York is to Peter Fallow's desire use the story to get to the big time, Sherman's world is turned upside down with some pretty frightening yet hilarious consequences. It also teaches us that no matter how good our life is, we can automatically lose it with the snap of the fingers as Sherman found out the hard way. Tom Wolfe is next to Jackie Collins and John Grisham the very few white authors who can do a black character down pat. A must read book for anyone who's enjoyed A Man In Full.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen wonderful read, but funny??, 18. Oktober 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bonfire of the Vanities (Taschenbuch)
Yes, this is a very good book. I was completely absorbed by it, but I didn't find it "entertaining" or funny, as most of the other reviewers seem to do. It's full of a dark sort of humor, but this didn't make me laugh very often. Most of the characters are as large as life and very "real" and that makes the story even more painful to read. After all, practically everything in this book goes terribly wrong, almost all the characters fail to realize their ideals, fail to transcend their own mediocrity and fail to live up to their own moral standards. They all leave a trail of victims in their wake. It's a sad story, really, which paints a very gloomy picture of modern society, a society whose members have such a hard time finding some meaning in what they do and what happens to them. The much criticized ending effectively deepens the pessimism, since it offers us a glimpse into the future: a tunnel without a glimmer of light at the end. I often asked myself if Mr. Wolfe sees any hope for us.
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The Bonfire of the Vanities
The Bonfire of the Vanities von Tom Wolfe (Taschenbuch - 1. November 1988)
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