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Wolfe, Tom

novel fiction critic racial

(US, 1931– )

As a young man, Wolfe shunned a promising career as a literary critic to become a journalist, and his work consistently bears the stamp of his passion for the classics, notably Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and Émile Zola. His cult book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), mixes the techniques of reportage and fiction to create a memorable account of the psychedelic era. Since the 1960s Wolfe has been an outspoken critic of contemporary American fiction, arguing that it has come adrift from its realist roots. His best-selling debut novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), tells the story of a Manhattan yuppie millionaire who becomes embroiled in New York's furious racial tensions. His second novel, A Man in Full (1998), again satirizes new wealth, corrupt politics, and racial sensitivities, this time in Georgia.

Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal. See UNITED STATES OF AMERICA  BH

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