WAMU 88.5 : The Diane Rehm Show

Filed Under:

Readers' Review: "The Bonfire of the Vanities" By Tom Wolfe

“The Bonfire of the Vanities” was Tom Wolfe’s 11th book and first novel. Inspired by Thackeray’s 19th century satire “Vanity Fair,” Wolfe set out to capture the essence of high and low society in 1980s New York. The story centers on Sherman McCoy, a wealthy bond trader and self-regarded "master of the universe." His life is destroyed when he and his mistress make a wrong turn into the Bronx one night. Critics said Wolfe’s portrayal of urban class and race came as close as fiction could to breaking news. It’s the 25th anniversary of the novel, and this month’s Readers’ Review.

Read An Excerpt

“Prologue: Mutt on Fire” excerpt from The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. The Bonfire of the Vanities copyright © 1987 by Tom Wolfe. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Picador and Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

NPR

The New Science Behind Our 'Unfair' Criminal Justice System

"Good people with the best of intentions ... can get things terribly, terribly wrong," says legal scholar Adam Benforado. His book, Unfair, explores the intrinsic flaws of the American justice system.
NPR

Mechanization Brings Quick Change To Borneo Region Known For 'Slow Rice'

A company is introducing mechanized rice farming to the interior of Malaysian Borneo for the first time. Scientists say the change may damage the bonds between the local people and their environment.
NPR

Obama To Meet With Vietnam's Communist Party Chief Amid Concern Over China

Hanoi and Washington hope to strengthen economic and defense ties, especially in the wake of Beijing's construction on a disputed reef in the South China Sea.
NPR

Reddit CEO Apologizes Days After User Revolt Over Firing Of Popular Figure

Ellen Pao said the company had "screwed up" not only in the way it handled the dismissal of Victoria Taylor, the key figure in the r/IAmA section, but "also over the past several years."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.