David's Reviews > A Man in Full

A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe
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M_50x66
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Sep 01, 10

Read in August, 2010

Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full is a thorough, thoughtful portrayal of several individuals in and around a slightly fictionalized Atlanta at the end of the last millennium. I loved it. Wolfe's prose is always clear, and even his lush, indulgent diversions from normal sentence structure serve more as secants than as tangents - they convey in fewer words what lesser writers struggle to convey in paragraphs.

Wolfe's writing is really the epitome of "show, don't tell" - while his characters live rich internal lives, their actions do far more to show us who they are than their internal monologues (or God forbid, exposition) do. Being who I am, I enjoy detailed descriptions, but only if the author of the descriptions actually knows what it is he or she is describing. Wolfe did his homework, and he got inside the heads of people of wildly different professions, classes, and races, and still made them completely coherent and true to themselves.

I do have to say that his use of the words of Epictetus is marvelous. I've liked the Stoic philosophers ever since I first encountered them.

Wolfe holds up a mirror to society, and shows us, in the completely self-justified actions of individuals, a little bit more of how the interpersonal relationships actually work. I highly recommend this book.
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