Hooking Up Paperback – Oct 12 2001
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Tom Wolfe's name is now so well known that the cover of his new collection bears just that: Tom Wolfe's name. No title, no picture, just the name, with an elegant design twining through it. Flip the thing on its side and you'll find that its title, Hooking Up, gives little idea of its function. But investigation soon reveals an oleo of reportage, fiction, and acrimonious name-calling. The latter, of course, makes for the best reading. In "My Three Stooges," Wolfe reviles the three big men of American letters--Updike, Mailer, and Irving--who cast aspersions on his second novel. Apparently, "the allergens for jealousy were present. Both Updike and Mailer had books out at the same time as A Man in Full, and theirs had sunk without a bubble. With Irving there was the Dickens factor." Wolfe gets in a lot of figures about what a big hit his book was with the reading public, and a few gentle reminders about other writers who were big hits of their times--little guys like Twain and Tolstoy.
Equally bitter fun are his two famous 1965 satires from the New York Herald Tribune. As always, Wolfe's titles lead you a good way into the actual stories: "Tiny Mummies! The True Story of the Ruler of 43rd Street's Land of the Walking Dead!" and "Lost in the Whichy Thickets: The New Yorker." Wolfe, clotheshorse of note, gets off some of his best cracks at the expense of New Yorker editor William Shawn's fashion sense: "He always seems to have on about twenty layers of clothes, about three button-up sweaters, four vests, a couple of shirts, two ties, it looks that way, a dark shapeless suit over the whole ensemble, and white cotton socks." The rest of the reported pieces are unexceptional, and while the novella Ambush at Fort Bragg makes the most of its setting--a Dateline-like newsmagazine--it lacks the irresistible momentum required to drag most readers into a novella. Still, it's fun to watch the author reprise his lifelong role of unlikely underdog: between his sniping at the literary elite and his mocking of the precious New Yorker set, Tom Wolfe makes like a defender of the common man. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Arch, vengeful and incisive as ever, the standard bearer for the chattering classes is back, this time with a collection of nine previously published essays, one new one and a reprinted novella. Ranging from the spectacular innovations of neuroscience to the preposterous horrors of the contemporary art world to a bare-knuckled assessment of the critical reception to his novel A Man in Full (an essay that appears for the first time in this collection, and that will set tongues wagging), the pieces run the gamut of Wolfe's signature obsessions. Fans of his character sketches will relish "Two Young Men Who Went West," a revelatory profile of Robert Noyce, a key innovator of the microchip who founded Intel in 1968, where the midwestern Congregationalist values he shared with his former mentor, William Shockley (founder of the original Silicon Valley startup, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory), grew into a business philosophy that's now so pervasive it's practically in the ether. Also included are Wolfe's infamous, irreverent profiles of New Yorker editors Harold Ross and William Shawn, originally published in 1968. Lopped off of Wolfe's most recent fiction opus, the novella "Ambush in Fort Bragg" concerns a "TV sting" run amok, and sits easily next to his journalism. However, Wolfe's meticulous eye for detail shows signs of jaundice in his hectoring anti-Communist tirades and in the title essay, which turns a snide backward glance on the turn of the millennium. Still, his fans will find plenty of evidence that Wolfe remains willing to plunge into "the raw, raucous, lust-soaked rout that throbs with amped-up octophonic typanum all around [him]" and thatDespecially in his nonfictionDhe can still grab the brass ring. Agent, Janklow & Nesbitt Associates. (Oct..--" and thatDespecially in his nonfictionDhe can still grab the brass ring. Agent, Janklow & Nesbitt Associates. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The title story is very entertaining and if the reader has a teen or someone in their young twenties ask them about its accuracy. The other twelve short story-commentaries are all enjoyable though Mr. Wolfe's fans have read some of them already. (They reminded me of some of McCrea's works-think his CHILDREN'S CORNER or his BARK OF THE DOGWOOD). The novella forecasts TV scandals and though it does not quite hook the reader beyond second base (remember this reviewer is from the old school) quite like the rest of Mr. Wolfe's stinging commentaries, the tale seems accurately plausible. Fans of Mr. Wolfe will round the bases (old school) with HOOKING UP.
Part 1 (Hooking Up) contains the title essay, one which deals with sex and courtship, then and now. Wolfe doesn't deliver anything new or shocking here.
Part 2 (The Human Beast) contains 3 essays. The first deals with the rise of Pentium and the silicon revolution. Wolfe's skill as a journalist is evident here, but the reading is a bit slow. Both of the other essays deal with the digital revolution. It's a topic Wolfe can write about, but not one that is enjoyable to read.
Part 3 (Vita Robusta, Ars Anorexica) contains four essays. My favorite piece that I've read by Wolfe is "My Three Stooges." Wolfe uses his wit to poke fun at Updike, Mailer, and John Irving, who attacked Wolfe's _A Man in Full_ when it was published. It's a great essay, and you see Wolfe's talents in full. I loved it. There is also his essay "The Invisible Artist" which contains Wolfe's thought on 'modern art' and the sculptor who designed the sculpture at the Viet Nam Memorial and other works we all recognize, but don't know the artist (and even, as Wolfe points out, may not consider the works art).
The next section contains Wolfe's novells "Ambush at Fort Bragg", which is the only fiction in the collection, but it's a good story.
The final section is 'The New Yorker Affair' in which Wolfe spoofed the New Yorker by doing a profile of their editor. It's a great section.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Of Tom Wolfe, I've read thus far: Hooking Up, A Man in Full, and Bonfire of the Vanities -- but I think I'm done. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2003 by Pancho Lefty
Though not as good as Bonfire of the Vanities. It makes for an interesting read and is well worth the effort. It is short and sweet.Published on July 6 2003 by JanSobieski
Back in the 1970s, Wolfe spoke @our school & in his 3-piece yellow suit proposed a most ludicrous notion: that the great cultural revolution that we all thought was happening back... Read morePublished on March 24 2003 by Far Lefkas
If you love living in America, if you're thrilled by the raw courage of entrepeneurial effort that explodes into success, and if you refuse to accept the center-left line America's... Read morePublished on June 30 2002 by Hunter Baker
I can think of no essayist writing in the U. S. today in the class with Tom Wolfe with the exception of the venerable Gore Vidal. As usual, Mr. Read morePublished on May 17 2002 by Foster Corbin
I found it hard to follow his line of reasoning at times. He seems to be against a lot of things, and be the only man who really knows what everything is about. Read morePublished on April 22 2002 by zeldesse
If Tom Wolfe weren't already famous, he probably couldn't have found mainstream publication for many of these pieces. That is a compliment. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2002 by A Reader
I'm keeping this book for future use. To follow all the avenues Tom opens up will take years, but it will be fun...Published on Jan. 20 2002 by Jay MacDonald
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