I loved it. The book is now a little bit dated, but still a great read. Some of his descriptions are so spot on and funny. He is actually a great satirist, who makes a lot of points but does so in an enjoyable way.
The York Times Book Review says it best, "The novel contains passages as powerful and as beautiful as anything writtennot merely by contemporary American novelists but by any American Novelist....The book is as funny as anything Wolfe has ever written; at the same time it is also deeply, strangely affecting." If you liked Wolfe's other novels you will like this one. And if you've never read him, this is a great introduction to his sardonic take on men and women on the make.
Tom Wolfe's novel stars a college football star turned millionaire businessman who, in late middle age, finds himself with a troublesome young wife and a mountain of debt. The cast includes Conrad Hensley, who gets in trouble with the law after losing his job; a black ex-athlete accused of raping a white girl; and the lawyer who represents him. This explosive, multihued novel about the tension in late 20th-century Atlanta involves illegal immigrants, prison life, shady real estate deals, trophy wives and the women they have replaced. Wolfe's first novel in 11 years was a finalist for the 1998 National Book Award. A New York Times Notable Book for 1998.
"Don't be frightened by the book's length, because once you pick it up, you'll end up hooked right till the last pages. But hooked in a good sense, because this is a pageturner that provides wide social commentary on many issues such as race, the insides of corporations, social class, sex, etc.
The characters are wonderfully defined and each of them is interesting in their own terms, although the most fascinating is Charlie Croker. The book has everything: frantic action and suspense (in the Conrad sections), humor, a great insight into the characters' thoughts (most notably in Martha and Ray's date) and even some philosophy thrown in.
The title is appropiate as the book deals with what defines manhood in modern society. Is it wealth, social prominence, or integrity? I also enjoyed the setting; Atlanta was a city I knew nothing about and I feel the book captured its spirit." amazon
"This novel contains passages as powerful and as beautiful as anything written...by any American novelist. This book is as funny as anything Wolfe has ever written. At the same time, it is also deeply strangely affecting." NY Times Book Review.
"Everything you want a novel to be..." The Orlando Sentinel
"A review of this complicated, but logically laid out novel would be a novel in itself. Suffice to say, this is still a fairly easy read thanks, in no small part to, Tom Wolfe's writing style. Crisp, insightful of human nature and the culture of greed, politics, law, and race make for a volitile mix set in Atlanta, Georgia; a belle of the south. Wolfe's novel digs deep behind the facade to discover a city's equivalent of "family secrets" and he paints a picture of human nature in all its complexity, and darkness..."
"Raymond R. Rubino, M.Ed., PC"