Author Topic: Tom Wolfe RIP  (Read 911 times)

Dannyhood91

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Tom Wolfe RIP
« on: May 15, 2018, 04:13:04 PM »
Just saw on The Guardian App that he’s died at 87.

Dr Syntax Head

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Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 05:03:01 PM »
I have only read The Electric Koolaid Acid Test which I absolutely love. Recommend any other of his work?

Al Tha Funkee Homosapien

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Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 07:00:36 PM »
I have only read The Electric Koolaid Acid Test which I absolutely love. Recommend any other of his work?

The Right Stuff is great if you're into early space travel, test pilots etc. I've only read that and Electric Koolaid.. so can't comment on any others.

Wet Blanket

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Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2018, 07:24:37 PM »
The Bonfire of the Vanities is a very good novel (but not a good film).

biggytitbo

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Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 07:32:33 PM »
Loved him in Gladiators.

Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 07:41:35 PM »
I read Bonfire of the Vanities in the late 80s, it was probably the first paperback edition, and thought it was superb.  "The debut of a day-glo Dickens," said one of the reviews on the back and while 'day-glo' suggests something shallow and glitzy the Dickens comparison was spot on.  It was a look at how a society works, from top to bottom.

I've never re-read it, and I haven't read any of his other novels.  The vicious reviews for A Man in Full put me off, and the only non-fiction of his that I've read is the fantastic essay Radical Chic.

newbridge

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Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2018, 12:16:54 AM »
I have only read The Electric Koolaid Acid Test which I absolutely love. Recommend any other of his work?

Honestly, everything he ever wrote is great. He is an amazing natural writer and he approaches writing (including his novels) from a point of view that was very unique.

I've never re-read it, and I haven't read any of his other novels.  The vicious reviews for A Man in Full put me off, and the only non-fiction of his that I've read is the fantastic essay Radical Chic.

I would ignore the reviews. The Christopher Hitchens review from LRB in particular has been floating around, and I find it embarrassingly dense despite thinking it is a brutal takedown, such as quoting a phrase used in both Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full as if it was lazy incompetence by Wolfe rather than a deliberate in-reference. I'm also reminded of the year he won the "bad sex in writing" award, for descriptions of sex that were deliberately meant to be bad and uncomfortable.

Many among the intelligentsia hated Wolfe because he was (1) extremely commercially successful, (2) contrarian and prone to shitting on other intelligentsia, and (3) his politics were ambiguous. It's hard to trust their opinions of his writing.

Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2018, 12:45:45 AM »

Many among the intelligentsia hated Wolfe because he was (1) extremely commercially successful, (2) contrarian and prone to shitting on other intelligentsia,

The preface in newer editions of Bonfire is a nice example of (2), a defence of his Dickensian methods and a rejection of modernism

kngen

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Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2018, 03:51:57 PM »
He really did have such a wonderful, unforced natural style - Bonfire of the Vanities is such a breezy read for a door stopper, I've prob returned to it 3 or 4 times (and each time I notice a little bit more of the conservative streak that made me loathe him in later years).

He also outlived his obituarist at the Guardian by two years, which is quite an achievement.

manticore

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Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2018, 04:42:29 PM »
I read The Painted Word about thirty years ago when I knew very little about art and I thought it was rather facile, simplistic and lacking in any real thought. I think maybe I started with the wrong book.

gilbertharding

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Re: Tom Wolfe RIP
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2018, 03:52:18 PM »
I have only read From Bauhaus to Our House - about 20 years ago, principally because I liked the title, it was by the writer of the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, and because at the time I was studying architecture.

I remember being disappointed that he took a conservative (right wing) view of International Style/Modernist architecture, at a time when post-modernist architecture - at my school, anyway - was still being viewed with open disgust by most.

I'd like to re-read it, with a little more perspective.

Should also probably get Bonfire of the Vanities.