The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe; 32 editions; First published in ; Subjects: Fiction, Traffic accidents, City and town life. The setting is Atlanta, Georgia — a racially mixed, late-century boomtown full of fresh wealth and wily politicians. The protagonist is Charles Croker, once a. eBOOK @PDF The Bonfire of the Vanities EPUB Click button below to download or read this book. Description Vintage Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire.
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Bonfire of the Vanities (Picador Books). Read more Vanities of the Eye: Vision in Early Modern European Culture. Read more. Tom Wolfe THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES ISBN THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES Prologue Mutt on Fire ''And the. Tom Wolfe THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES ISBN Doffing his hat, the author dedicates this book to. COUNSELOR EDDIE HAYES who walked .
When he got to the part about the telephone call itself, he became highly agitated even in the description of it. Links outside Open Library tomwolfe. Our view. His heart is pounding. People are all over the stage. Join us?
This look is supposed to say, I wish I could help you, but what can I do? Behold the wrath of the people! She knows she should stand up against this element! She knows that. But the good people are intimidated! Back to blood! Them and us! Like yelling at the surf.
He wants to spit in their eyes. Do you—you hardworking, respectable, God-fearing people of Harlem, you Mrs. Who have your friends been all these years? The Jews! And you let these hustlers call me a Charlie! They call me these things, and you say nothing? The whole hall appears to be jumping up and down. Their mouths are open. The whole city will see it. Harlem rises up! What a show! Not the hustlers and the operators and the players rise up—but Harlem rises up!
All of black New York rises up! Set fire to the mutt! And the Irish. Even the Wasps. Do you really think this is your city any longer? Open your eyes! The greatest city of the twentieth century!
Do you think money will keep it yours? Come down from your swell co-ops, you general partners and merger lawyers! Go visit the frontiers, you gutless wonders! Morningside Heights, St.
The Bronx—the Bronx is finished for you! Riverdale is just a little freeport up there! Pelham Parkway—keep the corridor open to Westchester! Brooklyn —your Brooklyn is no more! And Queens! Do you know? And where does that leave Ridgewood, Bayside, and Forest Hills? Have you ever thought about that!
And Staten Island! You poor fatties! You marshmallows! Completely crazy, these things roaring through his head! Absolutely paranoid!
He knows that. But he feels so alone! See how you like it then! And you let me stand here alone at this lectern with a goddamned asbestos ceiling coming down on my head—.
The TV lights are right in his face. A whole lot of pushing and shoving—he sees a cameraman go down. Some of the bastards are heading for the stairs to the stage, and the television crews are in the way. Something hits the Mayor on the shoulder. It hurts like hell!
Half full! Half consumed! In that instant the most insignificant thing takes over his mind. The goddamned lights! People are up on the stage…a lot of thrashing about…a regular melee…Norrejo grabs some big devil around the waist and sticks his leg behind him and throws him to the floor. The other two detectives, Holt and Danforth, have their backs to the Mayor. Guliaggi is right beside him. Is he smiling? Guliaggi seems to have this little smile on his face.
He motions his head toward a door at the rear of the stage. The Mayor keeps staring at his mouth. Is that a smile? This strange mean twist to his lips seems to be saying: Somehow the smile decides the issue. He gives himself over to this little rock. Now the others are closed in around him, too, Norrejo, Holt, Danforth. People are all over the stage. Guliaggi and Norrejo are muscling their way through the mob. The Mayor is right on their heels.
Snarling faces are all around him. He keeps saying it. You little white-haired pussy! Right in front of him—the big heckler himself! The one with the elbows and the gold earring!
Guliaggi is between the Mayor and the heckler, but the heckler towers over Guliaggi. He must be six five. He screams at the Mayor, right in his face:. All at once the big son of a bitch is sinking, with his mouth open and his eyes bugged out. Guliaggi reaches the door and opens it. The Mayor follows. He feels the other detectives pushing him through from behind. They never really tried to touch him.
And in that moment…he knows. He knows even before his mind can put it all together. At that very moment, in the very sort of Park Avenue co-op apartment that so obsessed the Mayor…twelve-foot ceilings…two wings, one for the white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who own the place and one for the help…Sherman McCoy was kneeling in his front hall trying to put a leash on a dachshund. The floor was a deep green marble, and it went on and on.
It led to a five-foot-wide walnut staircase that swept up in a sumptuous curve to the floor above. It was the sort of apartment the mere thought of which ignites flames of greed and covetousness under people all over New York and, for that matter, all over the world. But Sherman burned only with the urge to get out of this fabulous spread of his for thirty minutes. So here he was, down on both knees, struggling with a dog.
The dachshund, he figured, was his exit visa. Looking at Sherman McCoy, hunched over like that and dressed the way he was, in his checked shirt, khaki pants, and leather boating moccasins, you would have never guessed what an imposing figure he usually cut.
Still young…thirty-eight years old…tall…almost six-one…terrific posture…terrific to the point of imperious…as imperious as his daddy, the Lion of Dunning Sponget…a full head of sandy-brown hair…a long nose…a prominent chin…He was proud of his chin.
The McCoy chin; the Lion had it, too. It was a manly chin, a big round chin such as Yale men used to have in those drawings by Gibson and Leyendecker, an aristocratic chin, if you want to know what Sherman thought.
He was a Yale man himself. But at this moment his entire appearance was supposed to say: The dachshund seemed to know what was ahead. He kept ducking away from the leash. If you tried to lay hands on him, he turned into a two-foot tube packed with muscle. In grappling with him, Sherman had to lunge. And when he lunged, his kneecap hit the marble floor, and the pain made him angry.
The beast ducked again, and he hurt his knee again, and now he resented not only the beast but his wife, too. Still not looking up: Yes, I know. I have an idea, she said. You go upstairs and read Campbell a story before she goes to sleep. He stared at her. She was sincere! And yet zip zip zip zip zip zip zip with a few swift strokes, a few little sentences, she had …tied him in knots!
Without even trying! The fact that Campbell might be lying in her little bed —my only child! The sweet wifely face he was now staring at had just made a considerate and thoughtful suggestion, a logical suggestion…so logical he was speechless! And she was only trying to be nice! The world was upside down. What was he, a Master of the Universe, doing down here on the floor, reduced to ransacking his brain for white lies to circumvent the sweet logic of his wife?
The Masters of the Universe were a set of lurid, rapacious plastic dolls that his otherwise perfect daughter liked to play with. They looked like Norse gods who lifted weights, and they had names such as Dracon, Ahor, Mangelred, and Blutong. They were unusually vulgar, even for plastic toys. On Wall Street he and a few others—how many?
There was…no limit whatsoever! Naturally he had never so much as whispered this phrase to a living soul. He was no fool. He could feel his face grow hot. He put his head down and said, Juuuuuudy… It was a shout stifled by teeth. He pressed the thumb and the first two fingers of his left hand together and held them in front of his clamped jaws and blazing eyes, and he said:. That, after all, was the secret of the McCoy temper…on Wall Street…wherever…the imperious excess.
Please do what you want, she said tonelessly. Then she turned away and walked across the marble hall and ascended the sumptuous stairs.
Please do what you want. He had run right over her. Nothing to it. But it was a hollow victory. The Master of the Universe stood up and managed to hold on to the leash and struggle into his raincoat. It was a worn but formidable rubberized British riding mac, full of flaps, straps, and buckles. He had bought it at Knoud on Madison Avenue. Once, he had considered its aged look as just the thing, after the fashion of the Boston Cracked Shoe look.
Now he wondered. He yanked the dachshund along on the leash and went from the entry gallery out into the elevator vestibule and pushed the button. Tonight that suited Sherman fine. The elevator descended—and came to a stop two floors below. The door opened, and the smooth-jowled bulk of Pollard Browning stepped on. Browning looked Sherman and his country outfit and the dog up and down and said, without a trace of a smile, Hello, Sherman.
Hello, Sherman was on the end of a ten-foot pole and in a mere four syllables conveyed the message: You and your clothes and your animal are letting down our new mahogany-paneled elevator.
Sherman was furious but nevertheless found himself leaning over and picking the dog up off the floor. He was only forty but had looked fifty for the past twenty years. His hair was combed back smoothly over his round skull. He faced the elevator door, then turned his head, took another look at Sherman, said nothing, and turned back.
Sherman had known him ever since they were boys at the Buckley School. Browning had been a fat, hearty, overbearing junior snob who at the age of nine knew how to get across the astonishing news that McCoy was a hick name and a hick family , as in Hatfields and McCoys, whereas he, Browning, was a true Knickerbocker. Browning looked at the dachshund and shook his head. Sherman McCoy. It was supposed to sound like amiable sarcasm, but he knew his anger had slipped out around the edges.
The doorman smiled and nodded and held the door open for him. Browning walked out under the awning to his car. His chauffeur held the car door open for him. Not a drop of rain touched his glossy form, and he was off, smoothly, immaculately, into the swarm of red taillights heading down Park Avenue.
No ratty riding mac encumbered the sleek fat back of Pollard Browning. In fact, it was raining only lightly, and there was no wind, but the dachshund was having none of it. The power of the little bastard! He put the dog down on the runner under the awning and then stepped out into the rain with the leash. It glowed, as if inflamed by a fever.
Sherman pulled, but the dog dug into the runner with his toenails. And never mind the commentary, thought Sherman. So he picked him up and took him off the rubber runner and set him down on the sidewalk. The dog tried to bolt for the door. So now he was leaning one way and the dog was leaning the other, with the leash taut between them. It was a tug-of-war between a man and a dog…on Park Avenue. Sherman gave the leash a real jerk. The dachshund skidded forward a few inches on the sidewalk.
You could hear his toenails scraping. Well, maybe if he dragged him hard enough, he would give up and start walking just to keep from being dragged. He gave the leash another jerk and then kept pulling for all he was worth.
The dog slid forward a couple of feet. He slid! It was like trying to drag a sled with a pile of bricks on it. Christ, if he could only get around the corner. That was all he wanted. Why was it that the simplest things— he gave the leash another jerk and then he kept the pressure on. He was leaning like a sailor into the wind. He was getting hot inside his rubberized riding mac. The rain was running down his face. The dachshund had his feet splayed out on the sidewalk.
His shoulder muscles were bulging. He was thrashing from side to side. His neck was stretched out. He slid. Christ, you could hear it! You could hear his toenails scraping along the sidewalk. Sherman had his head down, his shoulders hunched over, dragging this animal through the darkness and the rain on Park Avenue.
He could feel the rain on the back of his neck. He squatted down and picked up the dachshund, catching a glimpse of Eddie, the doorman, as he did. Still watching! The dog began bucking and thrashing. Sherman stumbled.
He looked down. The leash had gotten wrapped around his legs. He began gimping along the sidewalk. Finally he made it around the corner to the pay telephone. He put the dog down on the sidewalk. Almost got away! He grabs the leash just in time. His head is soaked with rain. His heart is pounding. He sticks one arm through the loop in the leash. The dog keeps struggling.
He picks up the telephone and cradles it between his shoulder and his ear and fishes around in his pocket for a quarter and drops it in the slot and dials. He figured it must be her friend Germaine, the one she sublet the apartment from. So he said: May I speak to Maria, please? He hangs up. Oh Jesus. What can he do? After all, he said only five or six words.
How can she be sure? But it was no use. Besides, he was no good at bluffing. Still, what else could he do? He stood there in the rain, in the dark, by the telephone. The water had worked its way down inside his shirt collar.
He was breathing heavily. He was trying to figure out how bad it was going to be. What would she do? What would she say? How angry would she be? She deserved her scene if she wanted it. He had been truly stupid. How could he have done such a thing? He berated himself. He was no longer angry at Judy at all.
Could he bluff it out, or had he really done it now? Had he really hurt her? All at once Sherman was aware of a figure approaching him on the sidewalk, in the wet black shadows of the town houses and the trees. Even from fifty feet away, in the darkness, he could tell. It was that deep worry that lives in the base of the skull of every resident of Park Avenue south of Ninety-sixth Street—a black youth, tall, rangy, wearing white sneakers.
Now he was forty feet away, thirty-five. Sherman stared at him. Well, let him come! The black youth suddenly made a ninety-degree turn and cut straight across the street to the sidewalk on the other side.
The feeble yellow of a sodium-vapor streetlight reflected for an instant on his face as he checked Sherman out. Not once did it dawn on Sherman McCoy that what the boy had seen was a thirty-eight-year-old white man, soaking wet, dressed in some sort of military-looking raincoat full of straps and buckles, holding a violently lurching animal in his arms, staring, bug-eyed, and talking to himself.
Sherman stood by the telephone, breathing rapidly, almost panting. What was he to do now? He felt so defeated, he might as well go back home. He needed to think. He needed advice. He needed to get this intractable beast out of the rain.
He concentrated on it. He nailed it down. Then he dialed it with a plodding deliberation, as if he were using this particular invention, the telephone, for the first time.
It came out Shuhhh-mun. Sherman was reassured. That was Maria, all right. Birds were buds , pens were pins , bombs were bums , and envelopes were invilups. There was a pause, which he took to mean she was irritated. Where on earth have you been? Where un uth have you bin? The staircase of the town house sagged and groaned as Sherman walked up.
Sherman passed apartment doors with innumerable locks, one above the other in drunken columns. There were anti-pliers covers over the locks and anti-jimmy irons over the jambs and anti-push-in screens over the door panels. How bohemian! How …real this place was! How absolutely right for these moments when the Master of the Universe stripped away the long-faced proprieties of Park Avenue and Wall Street and let his rogue hormones out for a romp!
Germaine was something else again. Sherman had met her twice. She was built like a fire hydrant. She had a ferocious hedge of hair on her upper lip, practically a mustache.
Sherman was convinced she was a lesbian. But so what? It was all real! New York! A rush of fire in the loins! But tonight Priapus did not rule.
Tonight the grimness of the old brownstone weighed on the Master of the Universe. Only the dachshund was happy. He was hauling his belly up the stairs at a merry clip. It was warm and dry in here, and familiar. He was perspiring. His body was positively abloom beneath the riding mac, his checked shirt, and his T-shirt. Before he could knock on the door, it opened about a foot, and there she was. She stood there, looking Sherman up and down, as if she were angry.
Her eyes gleamed above those remarkable high cheekbones of hers. Her bobbed hair was like a black hood. Her lips were drawn up into an O. All at once she broke into a smile and began chuckling with little sniffs through her nose.
Now Maria pushed the door all the way open, but instead of ushering him inside, she leaned up against the doorjamb and crossed her legs and folded her arms underneath her breasts and kept staring at him and chuckling.
She was wearing high-heeled pumps with a black-and-white checkerboard pattern worked into the leather. Sherman knew little about shoe designs, but it registered on him that this one was of the moment. She wore a white silk blouse, open down to the top of her breasts. The light in the tiny entryway was such that it threw her entire ensemble into high relief: Sherman… Shuhhh-mun.
You know what? The Master of the Universe was mildly annoyed, but he walked on in, passing her and saying: Oh boy. Without altering her pose in the doorway, Maria looked down at the dog, who was sniffing at the carpet. Hello, Marshall! Maria started to laugh and then shut the door.
Just like my little brother. Every day he came home from school, and his belly button was showing. Sherman looked down. It was true. His checked shirt was pulled out of his pants, and his belly button was showing. Sherman stopped listening. She looked Italian or Greek. But she talked like a Southern girl. The chatter just poured out. She was still talking when Sherman said:.
Maria turned her back and walked out into the middle of the apartment, then wheeled about and struck a pose, with her head cocked to one side and her hands on her hips and one high-heeled foot slewed out in a carefree manner and her shoulders thrown back and her back slightly arched, pushing her breasts forward, and she said:.
What the hell was she talking about? But he looked her over dutifully. Did she have a new hairdo? A new piece of jewelry? Christ, her husband loaded her with so much jewelry, who could keep track? No, it must be something in the room. His eyes jumped around. There was a little bay with three leaded casement windows and a window seat all the way around.
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