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Hooking Up Paperback – October 12, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st Picador USA ed edition (October 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312420234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312420239
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

More About the Author

Tom Wolfe is the author of more than a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and A Man in Full. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned his B.A. at Washington and Lee University and a Ph.D. in American studies at Yale. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

All are showpieces for Wolfe's brilliant writing style and incisive wit.
Michael J. Edelman
Its tough to explain hwats these short stories are about rather than just saying they are Mr. Wolfe's observations about life and things told in a very smart way.
William D. Tompkins
This is a fantastic collection and is highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in good writing.
Paul Rooney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
OK, let me begin by saying that Tom Wolfe is one of my favorite authors. He does his homework, has an eye for detail and an exquisite (ooh...there's that word!) way of bending the English language to his purposes. So, I'm a fan.
However, I found "Hooking Up" to be less than I expected or hoped for. Other reviewers have commented on the dubious relevance of some of the essays, and I agree. The piece on the NY Times was well-written, as usual, but I just didn't care about the topic. It seemed to be a little too shrill, a little too self-serving...but in the end I just didn't care.
"Ambush At Fort Bragg" was deadly in its aim, but the sexual content bordered on pornographic (I say this even as I admit that it fit the context of the story) and, frankly, I'm just a tad weary of such things.
Mr. Wolfe is at his best when he takes aim at current social, philosophic and scientific issues, and dissects them, layer by layer, exposing the good with the bad. He does this in a number of essays in this collection, and that is the saving grace for this book. If you're a Tom Wolfe fan, by all means - buy the book. If you're not familiar with his work but want to be, there are better choices.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By The Sanity Inspector on April 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After twenty years, Tom Wolfe is back with another collection of essays of social criticism. Throughout much of the Eighties and Nineties, it seemed that he had been overtaken by the changing times, as every satirist eventually must be. The sprayer of irony one day finds himself drowing in it. His two smash novels pointed to new directions for him.
But here is this grab bag of old and new material, picking right up where his last such, 1980's _In Our Time_, left off. He didn't include any of his very witty caricatures here, though-too bad. One of the essays, "My Three Stooges", a barrel-roll around his literary competition, would have been a good forum for them.
That piece, "My Three Stooges" is a terrific rejoinder to his critics in thenortheasternliberalliteraryestablishment. The writers who inhabit the Long Island-Martha's Vinyard-rural New England triangle have been so increasingly irrelevant to the rest of American life that it's all the New York literary taste-makers can do to keep them afloat. This may be the knock-out blow for them, as Wolfe touts the vital but neglected role of reportage in bringing the parade of American life successfully to print.
Wolfe's style has remained rather static over the years. He still uses his familiar panoply of ellipses, italics, and repetition, though the pages are not as annoyingly snowy with them as in his earlier days. Mysteriously, he recycled a _lot_ of snappy turns of phrase from earlier books. I mean, verbatim passages of description, "gold chains twinkling in his chest hairs," "hung their hides over the edge," "Please God, don't let me look old," to list a very few, all made memorable appearances in his work decades ago.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Hunter Baker on June 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
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 liberal elite wants to hand you, then Tom Wolfe is your go-to guy. He's hard-working, brilliant, and writes like a man playing a burning piano.
Although many know him best for his novels like "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "A Man in Full", you're missing his best work if you don't read the essay collections like "Hooking Up". In this volume, we get the true story behind the birth of Silicon Valley, a tale of a great artist no one knows because he possesses actual skill, a novella skewering the television news magazines, and several other gems.
If you have a Wolfe collection, add this book to it. If you don't have a Wolfe collection, start one!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K.E. Culbertson on March 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I came to "Hooking Up" after having finished Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals," another great study of thought and its effect in our society. I've actually met Tom Wolfe at Duke Univ., and was struck by how open and sensible he was. This collection of essays is more than a humorous and hip read: it's responsible. The research and journalism are sound; the depth of humanity displayed in the exposition of it is touching. The defense of Naturalism in "My Three Stooges" is something that one would have thought went without saying, but for the past four decades, hasn't. It is so good to see the inward-looking, self-absorbed writers like Updike falling at last by the wayside. Updike's problem is that he never went out into the crazy carnival of American life and lived, took chances, felt emotion in extremis, or at least spent time with people who live in these states. With Updike and Irving (Norman Mailer was always more of a self-promotion specialist than a good writer), writing is an intellectual parlor game: good for themselves, but not so exciting for the rest of us. It's nice to see Wolfe having the final word here. He's a breath of fresh air. His writing, like his lifetime pursuits, are concerned with us, all of us. He is truly the closest we've had in two generations to a writer who can at least claim pretentions of carrying the mantel of Dickens.
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