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La Foguera de les vanitats (1987)
de Tom Wolfe
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Un esclarecedor retrato del american way of life de los años 80 que inspiró la película con el mismo título dirigida pro Brian de Palma en 1991
So regularly is Tom Wolfe's brash 1987 tome described as "the quintessential novel of
the 80s" that you almost feel the phrase could be slapped on as a subtitle. But the ability
to "capture the decade" isn't the only measure of a writer's ability, and like a hot-pink
puffball dress, this story displays a blithe disregard for nuance.
Sherman McCoy, known to himself as a "Master of the Universe",
is a millionaire bond trader at Wall Street's Pierce and Pierce,
where the roar of the trading floor "resonate[s] with his very
gizzard". His mastery is punctured, however, when, with his
mistress at the wheel, his Mercedes hits and fatally injures a
young black man in the Bronx. The story of McCoy's subsequent
downfall is told alongside those of three other men, all
characterised by their raging ambition and vanity: an alcoholic
tabloid journalist desperate for a scoop; a power-hungry pastor;
and a district attorney keen to impress one of his former jury
members, the brown-lipsticked Miss Shelly Thomas.
Wolfe revels in the rambunctious, seething world of 80s New
York and brings to life in primary-colours prose a city fraught
with racial tensions and steeped in ego. The contrasting worlds of
McCoy and his victim, Henry Lamb, are vividly dramatised, if not
with great subtlety: rich, white Park Avenue versus poor, black Bronx.
At one particularly extravagant party, McCoy strays into a room described as "stuffed…
with sofas, cushions, fat chairs and hassocks, all of them braided, tasselled, banded,
bordered and... stuffed". Sometimes this big beast of a novel feels the same: dense with
research and bulging with bombast. Yet, it has to be admitted, it's also great fun.
The best account of the 90s me-first greed and fuck you attitude I have ever read.
The Nazi and fascist movements in Europe subscribed to similar sentiments. But, because Wolfe does not use anti-Semitic or racist epithets, the truly reactionary character of his societal vision is often unrecognized. The movie actually performs one important public service. By turning the book into a ghastly movie, the reactionary character of the book becomes far more apparent for all to see.
Sheer entertainment against a fabulous background, proving that late-blooming first-novelist Wolfe, a superobserver of the social scene (The
Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers), has the right stuff for fiction. Undertaken as
a serial for Rolling Stone, his magnum opus hits the ball far, far, far out of the park. Son of Park Avenue wealth, Sherman McCoy at 35 is perhaps
the greatest bond salesman on Wall Street, and eats only the upper crust. But millionaire Sherman's constant inner cry is that he is "hemorrhaging
money." He's also a jerk, ripe for humiliation; and when his humiliation arrives, it is fearsome. Since this is also the story of The Law as it applies
to rich and poor, especially to blacks and Hispanics of the Bronx, Wolfe has a field day familiarizing the reader with the politics and legal
machinations that take place in the Bronx County Courthouse, a fortress wherein Sherman McCoy becomes known as the Great White Defendant.
One evening, married Sherman picks up his $100-million mistress Maria at Kennedy Airport, gets lost bringing her back in his $48,000 Mercedes-
Benz, is attacked by two blacks on a ramp in the Bronx. When Maria jumps behind the wheel, one black is hit by the car. Later, he lapses into a
terminal coma, but not before giving his mother part of Sherman's license plate. This event is hyped absurdly by an alcoholic British reporter for
the The City Light (read: Rupert Murdoch's New York Post), the mugger becomes an "honor student," and Sherman becomes the object of vile
racist attacks mounted by a charlatan black minister. Chunk by chunk, Sherman loses every footing in his life but gains his manhood. Meanwhile,
Wolfe triumphantly mounts scene after magnificent scene depicting the vanity of human endeavor, with every character measured by his shoes and
suits or dresses, his income and expenses, and with his vain desires rising in smoke against settings that would make a Hollywood director's tongue
hang out. Often hilarious, and much, much more.
There has probably never been a less prescient journo-novel than The Bonfire of the Vanities, which subliminally heralded a New York that was given over to wild and feral African politics at one end (reading from north to south of Manhattan Island) and dubious market strategies at the other. The market strategies continue. Indeed, Wall Street has almost deposed the opinion polls as the index of national wellbeing. The ethnic spoils system, meanwhile, is manipulated by the same class as ever. If either of these elements ever undergoes a dramatic metamorphosis, it won’t be Tom Wolfe who sounds the alarm.
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Wikipedia en anglès (3)
Sherman McCoy, a young investment banker in Manhattan, finds himself arrested following a freak accident and becomes involved with prosecutors, politicians, the press, and assorted hustlers.
No s'han trobat descripcions de biblioteca.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.54Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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