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Customer Review

on 20 May 1999
No one is spared in this savagely funny companion to Bonfire of the Vanities. The nearest we get to a hero ends up in jail as a result his own vanity; the upwardly mobile black lawyer is constantly ridiculed as "done up like a English diplomat", the good ole' southern boy property developer is exposed as clumsy and socially inept, the bankers are spiteful and hypocritical, the black athlete a sexual predator. This broadside on humanity is leavened by some splendid joke names such a Wringer, Fleasom & Tick (a law firm), Mustapha Gunt (a fitness instructor ho ho) and the authors' running treatise on Stoicism which lends the book its' big message. This is that people, like the city of Atlanta where much of the story is based, can develop and punch above their weight if only we seize the minute, unique advantage we are all granted. My only criticism applies also to it's predecessor and is one of pace. The narrative comes to an abrupt halt and we are give only a brief glimpse into the future of the characters that have been so painstaking drawn. Is this really Wolfe's view on the world - fifteen minutes (or his case, 800 pages) of fame and then you sink back to obscurity or did he just run out of space?
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