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I have had so many bad reviews in my life. It was a big deal to me when I started out. It is not a big deal now. The very first reviews of The Bonfire of the Vanities were negative. I thought to myself, ‘My god, you are in deep trouble here.’ The first one was in Newsday. That was before publication. Most before-publication reviews are slams. They always come from somebody who just canâ€™t wait.
The New York Review of Books does this quite regularly to me. It has never forgiven me for saying that their editor Bob Silvers got a small package in the mail and opened it and inside was a British accent and he put it into his mouth and it just fit perfectly. I donâ€™t think he ever forgot that.p> TAS: Will your three stooges with their rusted-out hips come after you again? br> Tom Wolfe: I sort of doubt it, except perhaps John Irving. Incidentally I have no history with Irving. I had never written about Irving. He had never written anything about me as far as I know. I had never commented about Irving. But for whatever reason, and I’m not enough of a psychiatrist to tell you why, now when he hears my name, first he will literally start sputtering, then he will try out the naughtiest word he can think of on short notice, and then he’ll be incoherent for about 120 seconds, and finally become a rational person again. It is really funny. You should do an experiment: Give him a ring and just say you were interviewing Tom Wolfe and he said you wasted a career as a novelist by not confronting life and should get off your farm, and that’ll be enough to get him started. /p>
They were shaken up by the acclaim for A Man in Full. I was on the cover of Time and giving lectures about the realistic novel, and they thought, ‘We got to head this damn thing off.’
The novel as it is now going will die. It will become like poetry. Poetry isn’t literally dead, it is just marginal. Not enough people read it, whereas at one time that was the form. Thatâ€™s why Shakespeare’s plays were written in poetry. That’s why Henry Fielding wrote Tom Jones and called it ‘An Epic Poem in Prose,’ as a way of saying: I know that poetry is where the action is, this is not that far off, so give it a shot.
It is really too bad that the novel is dying. The great American novels were compressed into 39 years — 1900-1939. It started with Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and ends with John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. In the middle you have Sinclair Lewis, Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, John Dos Passos — just one marvelous writer after another. And they are all realists. They were really in love with all of the details of American life, and they captured this great sprawling, brawling country in words.
And then suddenly it changes very rapidly after the war. All of that is repudiated as being clumsy, being a little primitive, ‘what writers do if they don’t understand the finer things of life,’ and the idea spreads that literary writing should be done for a charming aristocracy.p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?