Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Bonfire of the Vanities
The Bonfire of the Vanities 

by Tom Wolfe

On Wall Street he and a few others - how many? - three hundred, four hundred, five hundred? - had become precisely that … Masters of the Universe.

Bonfire of the Vanities is a novel that reads as if it were taken right out of the current news, or at least the news when it was written in the late 1980s. The story focuses on a "master of the universe" Wall Street bond trader whose life unravels as the result of a literal wrong turn taken. His life is then turned upside-down by the machinations of several other characters including an ambitious journalist, a hypocritical reverend, and the questionable actors from the judicial system. The denouement does not reward the good characters for in this book they do not exist. The result is a great read, the best book about unlikeable characters since Aldous Huxley's Point Counter Point, and what I would now consider great historical fiction about an earlier time and place.

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