I know the blog has been a bit quiet in the past few months, and that’s largely because I haven’t had an awful lot to review. However, that’s not because of any lack of intake. In the case of books, it’s simply because I’m a slow reader.
I finally turned the final page on Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities just a few days ago. Clocking in at nearly 700 pages, it’s been occupying my commute for the past few months. Fortunately, it never once felt like a chore. Bonfire is an addicting read, full of suspense, humor, and biting commentary.
Bonfire‘s main story is that of Sherman McCoy, the typical Wall Street hot-shot of the late 1980s. Sherman, quite simply, has it all: wealth, privilege, respect, and security. Bonfire‘s main narrative concerns Sherman’s attempt to gather even more of these things and how those efforts ultimately destroy him. There are interweaving plot threads involving his mistress, a downtrodden assistant district attorney, a boozing British reporter, an iron-fisted judge, and a bloviating community agitator. Wolfe’s sprawling story achieves two of my favorite things as a reader: it’s detail is so thick and precise that the world of the book enfolds you, and every single plot thread comes together for the remarkable climax and conclusion.
I picked up Bonfire because it was one of those books I’d always heard of and decided I should see what the fuss was about. Having completed it, I highly recommend it. It’s not without its faults, but it remains not only enjoyable but disturbingly relevant.