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    • By Grammath
      After more than 20 years as a journalist and essayist, in 1987 Tom Wolfe debuted as a novelist with this splendid satire of 1980s New York life. Until "American Psycho" came along, it was the definitive word on the subject.
       
      Sherman McCoy is a self-styled Master of the Universe, a rich young Wall Street whizzkid. Driving home with his mistress, they become lost in The Bronx and accidentally run over a black kid. They don't stop to check how he is. The novel documents the unravelling of Sherman's life in the aftermath of the event.
       
      Wolfe clearly fancied himself as a Dickens of '80s New York. In this novel, he tries to capture society from the lowest to the highest, the machinations of a sometimes absurd law machine and hold up a mirror to his contemporary city in characters such as black activist Reverend Bacon, based on the larger than life preacher Reverend Al Sharpton and journalist Peter Fallow, widely assumed to be a thinly disguised portrait of Christopher Hitchens.
       
      It is getting on for 20 years since I read it, but I remember I absolutely loved it. Part of me wonders how it has aged, but at the time it seemed smart, savage and stylish.
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