Anyone doubting the enduring power of the social realist novel need look no further than Tom Wolfe‘s 1987 masterpiece, still as relevant today as it was almost 30 years ago. Set on Wall Street in the midst of the 1980s boom, it charts the downfall of Sherman McCoy, star bond salesman who struggled to make ends meet on a million dollars a year.
Elegantly written and with a cast of characters that manages to get under the skin of everyone from Manhattan socialites to down and outs, The Bonfire of the Vanities is one of those rare books I find myself returning to every few years. With the fall out from bank bailouts still pervading our major financial capitals, and inequalities of wealth on the rise, I can feel its pages beckoning once more.
Donald Finnaeus Mayo is the author of FRANCESCA