Book: The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

I saw more than one places that this is the book that you really should read before you are thirty. I realized I had it so I gave it a chance.

The scene is New York city in the eighties. We see people jump big and fall even bigger. The story is built around an incident in Bronx. We get know the different perspectives how the case should be handled. Like by the big wall street guy Sherman McCoy whose night is starting as an ordinary one, with a date with his mistress, but by a wrong turn it becomes his downhill. Or the emerging prosecutor, called Lawrence Kramer, who would do anything to move up the ladder. We meet the alcoholic City Light’s writer, Peter Fallow, who gets lucky and has one more chance in his life to make it better, and Reverend Bacon who likes to be a part of anything, which includes a little money. In addition, the whole story is spiced up by the world of money and ambitious politicians.

Personally, I found the book very hard to read. Not because of the language, I just needed to get used to Wolfe’s style. He used long and exhausting description about places and people, which more than once, I felt unnecessary but when I was comfortable with his writing I didn’t feel it irritating anymore. None of the main characters were likeable for me. I only felt sorry for McCoy because I didn’t think he deserved what he got. While the story had long introductions to everybody’s life and the prosecution. In the last chapters, the events  accelerated and it finished before I was even able to blink. In an epilogue, the writer closed the characters stories in an interesting way he did it by some newspaper’s articles.

Even though, I mostly mentioned disadvantages I really liked this book. After a hard start I was eager to know what will happen with McCoy and who will fail and who will win. Moreover, it showed very well how the world of money and politicians worked. This part of the story maybe from the ’80s of New york, but I think it still stands in our present and, unfortunately, it will stand in our future too. If you get used to the writer’s style, as I did, you will really enjoy this book. If you don’t, you may not finish it, because yes it can be really boring. It was an a list to read before you reach 30, but I am sure you will enjoy it even, if you are over 30.

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