Lindsay Allison's Reviews > The Bonfire of the Vanities

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
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Sep 05, 11


Tom Wolfe's books always impress me, and The Bonfire of the Vanities is definitely one of his best works, studying American culture and human behavior through the lens of a criminal trial in New York City.

Sherman McCoy is the main character of the book, but the book also follows the Bronx assistant District Attorney and a newspaper reporter, whose fates intertwine with Sherman's after he is entrenched in the court case. Interestingly, the only true protagonists in the book, the Lamb family, are the only ones who do not get much time on the page beyond the initial accident. They become mere pawns in a much bigger game of egos, where justice is served (or not served) only based on personal gain or loss. The true fate of the Lamb family is hardly relevant to anyone.

Wolfe brilliantly weaves an engaging story, and his prose are crystal clear and entertaining. The plot is enjoyable on the surface level, but the ramifications of everyone's actions will leave a reader thinking for days following the conclusion of this book. I definitely recommend this to anyone.
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