"A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe

Essay by anacondaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2006

download word file, 7 pages 0.0

Downloaded 16 times

Atlanta developer Charlie Croker is a big man with a bigger problem. He's built a 40-story monument to himself - complete with mall, cineplex, hotel-and-apartment complex and more - known as Croker Concourse. But he doesn't have the tenants to pay back the half-billion dollars he borrowed to build it and the rest of his empire. So he does what any quail-hunting, bourbon-drinking, mall-building good old boy might do. He invites a prospective client to see one of his stud horses in action.

As Tom Wolfe tells the story in his new novel, "A Man in Full," the invitation says a good bit more about the man who issues it than it does about the attractions of horse sex. The scene that follows clearly appalls the prospective client - to say nothing of the reader - and the deal collapses about as quickly as the stallion does. What could Charlie have been thinking about to make such an offer? The answer is: himself.

With an ego bigger than the concourse, he simply can't imagine that someone, and particularly some man, doesn't share his enthusiasms.

More than a decade after Mr. Wolfe lit the "Bonfire of the Vanities," he is at last back feeding the flames. The focus of the novel has shifted from New York to Atlanta, and bond traders who once ran the universe have been replaced by real-estate magnates. But vanity lives on, an endless source of satire, amusement and old-fashioned reporting for Mr. Wolfe and, apparently, his readers.

Handling it as Mr. Wolfe does with his customary wit, withering insight and memorable phrases they will find much to like here. Already the book is a commercial success, and it was nominated for a National Book Award even before being published. Such success is all the more remarkable...