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Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  347 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
"When are the 1970's going to begin?" ran the joke during the l976 presidential bid. In these stories and essays Wolfe meets the question head-on -- even providing the label "The Me Decade".
Unknown Binding
Published December 17th 1998 by MacMillan (first published January 1st 1977)
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Apr 10, 2012 Joni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This makes for a nice demo tape, an EP, of Tom Wolfe's writing - here he is in top form, as fast and noxious as traffic, paranoid, cynical, full of detail and onomatopoeia, the smell of the American Dream from every which way - jet pilots blasting off aircraft carriers, vain Madison Avenue authors choking on their own calculators, neurotic yoga students Primal Scream-ing on their hemorrhoids - a big range of characters with totally different lives, and yet all who seem to speak in the same wild- ...more
Mark Taylor
Nov 20, 2015 Mark Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tom Wolfe’s 1976 book Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, is a collection of short essays of the sort that had made Wolfe famous a decade earlier. The contents are quite varied, ranging from the illustrated story “The Man Who Always Peaked Too Soon,” to Wolfe’s first venture into fiction, the short story “The Commercial,” and including one of Wolfe’s classic capturing-the-zeitgeist pieces, “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening.” Mauve Gloves & Madmen features excellent writ ...more
Aug 01, 2007 C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hey Tom Wolfe I used to think you were a bullshit bougie blow hard, who thinks it's cool to be a conservative intellectual, when being a conservative had very little to do with how you felt about Jesus, and more about your views on small government.

You still live on the Upper East Side in your tent of luxury.

But this collection was actually very good. I found some of the style a bit gimmicky and dated, but I really enjoyed most of the stories. Good job.
This is an old book of cultural essays, but it's interesting to read given the passage of time. Much of it holds up critically and some of them are quite prescient. I was led to the book by a reference from Thomas Frank's book, "Listen, Liberal!" to the class makeup of Martha's Vineyard and how it relates to today's political climate.
Jun 13, 2013 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
Tom Wolfe is a writer of his time, which is meant neither as a compliment nor as a slight. He is flashy, wordy (even while writing short pieces), bombastic, sarcastic, and sometimes insightful -- the perfect chronicler of the "Me Generation," a term he coined in an essay contained in Mauve Gloves.... Of course, this is also a way of saying that his writing is dated. Reading anything he's written after 1988 is rough because it feels so extravagant, loose, and exaggerated. But the period between 1 ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh yes, this is classic Tom Wolfe.

In this "sweet" little collection of witty retorts to all things steeped in 1970's culture Wolfe barrels into a series of mostly counter "counter-culture" pieces and vignettes (written at the time rather than a more modern reflection back to the 70's) true to the traditional Tom Wolfe formula.

No judgement is left unsaid.
No outward presentation by any do-gooder is sacred.
No more than the tiniest shred of love is shared.
It's all so painfully good.

And it covers m
Dec 30, 2009 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When my ex-wife and I split, we divvied up the books which were, to be fair, largely hers, and she thought that I should have this particular one. That was some seven years ago, and this book, along with a number of others, has traveled with me from bookshelf to bookshelf waiting to be read. And now I have read it. This was, perhaps surprisingly — or not, I suppose — my first Tom Wolfe experience, and though many of the pieces reference fairly dated material, all were a treat to read. Tom Wolfe' ...more
May 03, 2008 mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mauve Gloves... gathers together a collection of Wolfes essays on American culture during the 1970s. Its vintage Wolfe and, as I usually find with Wolfe, I really enjoyed reading it. In particular, The Me Decade and The Third Great Awakening, a description of the explosion of narcissism in the 1970s stands out among the collection, especially for what I feel is its continuing relevance today. Besides that, I also especially enjoyed his description of fighter pilot culture in The Truest Sport: Jo ...more
Sep 09, 2007 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mid-70s collection of short, mainly non-fiction, pieces that had probably all appeared in various magazines - quite comparable in a way to 2001's "Hooking Up", parts of which are going to seem similarly dated a few decades hence. However, "The Me Decade and The Third Great Awakening" and "The Intelligent Coed's Guide To America" (despite its awkward title - was "coed" ever not faintly derogatory sounding? - in this case, he was probably playing on that fact) should be required reading for any ...more
David Macpherson
May 12, 2010 David Macpherson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is amazing is that so much of what he wrote of 35 years ago is still prescient in our society. The essay he wrote on pornviolence is so true, where we live to read or see violent stories and how we like to watch as if we are the killer and not in the point of view of the victim. The title essay was also true and reminded me of my uncle, wh owas a writer in new york. some ofthe final essays were not as zippy, seeming to repeat themselves about funky chic, but still, a fun writer and a percep ...more
This is a fascinating collection of Wolfe's non-fiction writing touching on everything from the "me generation" to fighter pilots in Vietnam, and the selections are interspersed by Wolfe's own, delightful ink caricature sketches. His writing comes across as energetic, often humorous, and refreshingly direct (which also means arrogant and snarky, especially if you disagree with his point of view, but he seems to have captured the early '70s zeitgeist in this collection).
Adam Browne
Sep 13, 2013 Adam Browne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looked at this book again recently; I didn't realise until now - or had forgotten - how influential it's been on my writing style. I thought I was doing Martin Amis - in fact I'm doing Tom Wolfe (plus Alfred Jarry); makes sense, considering Wolfe's caricatures, grotesques, and wry acerbic emphasis on design, style, fashion etc etc - his highly detailed architectures and systems that somewhat dwarf the characters.


Collection of essay/stories from Wolfe's non-fiction days. The title of the book comes from the first essay in the book about a famous author living in a NYC apartment and trying to maintain his social status. Mauve Gloves & Madmen is the name of a catering company the famous author uses for a party and Clutter & Vine is the name of a florist he uses for the party.
Nicole Diamond
Nov 08, 2011 Nicole Diamond rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If it has one star I liked it a lot
If it has two stars I liked it a lot and would recommend it
If it has three stars I really really liked it a lot
If it has four stars I insist you read it
If it has five stars it was life changing
Tim Hainley
Wolfe is a brilliant reporter and chronicler of events, but is also such a snob and prick of cultural critic that he makes me reflexively mentally defend his ridiculous baby boomer targets, something you would be extremely hard-pressed to find me doing in other circumstances.
David Ward
Mauve Gloves and Madmen, Clutter and Vine by Tom Wolfe (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux 1976)(818). This is a collection of Wolfe's essays on American culture during the 1970's. I usually enjoy Tom Wolfe's writing, but I was unable to engage with this one. DNF. My rating: 6/10, finished 1981.
Jan 19, 2008 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish he'd kept writing like this. This book is really more of a historical document at this point, since it's so dated, but there are some really good parts.
Jan 09, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
Includes "The Intelligent Coed's Guide to America," which is a personal favorite.
Aug 07, 2009 Inunn56 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best work of fiction by Tom Wolfe. He mentioned in an interview that he had to constantly rewrite pages in this book because reality frequently surpassed his imagination.
Jul 05, 2007 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not one of his better efforts. At his best, I like Tom wolfe quite a bit. But here he is nowhere near his best.
Derek Baldwin
Lots of bitchy pen-portraits of Noo Yawkers and sundry USA stereotypes, and some great pen and ink drawings too if I remember correctly.
So charming. So good.
Jessica rated it it was amazing
Jul 09, 2010
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Jan 20, 2011
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Wolfe was educated at Washington and Lee Universities and also at Yale, where he received a PhD in American studies.

Tom Wolfe spent his early days as a Washington Post beat reporter, where his free-association, onomatopoetic style would later become the trademark of New Journalism. In books such as The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe delves into
More about Tom Wolfe...

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