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Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine Paperback – October 5, 1999

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"No one is as good as Wolfe on the contradictions between cushy class and angry consciousness . . . There essays . . . offer a lively picture of the surface of our society' one wishes life were this interesting." -Jack Beatty, The Nation
 
"This book serves as a reminder of how often Wolfe's refusal to be respectful toward any subject has produced both illumination and laughter." -Time
 
"Mr. Wolfe tackles all sorts of subjects ranging from life on an aircraft carrier (brilliantly described) to the goings-on at a convention of National Enquirer freelance writers . . . The master of trivia also offers an underlying theme in his essays and stories: the enormous gap (as he perceives it) between the intellectuals' negative view of America and the positive reality." -Roger Ricklefs, The Wall Street Journal
 
"It's all right here! Again! The wicked maestro has done it again!" -Tom Nolan, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (October 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553380591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553380590
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,693,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jjlaw on April 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Worth buying for the cartoon "Utility Workers on Third Avenue" alone - didn't know Wolfe was such a talented sketch artist.

Wolfe might well be the world's greatest living writer. Evidence? He is the author of three unmatched masterpieces on post-war America: The Right Stuff, Radical Chic and Bonfire of the Vanities. The quality of most of his other writings is also extremely high. Take his overlong, turgid, absolute worst book - Man in Full - and its still better than most. In 20th century American writing there is Fitzgerald and Wolfe, and then the rest.

This is a collection of writings from and about the 1970s - as Wolfe coined it, the Me decade. What is satisfying about reading Wolfe's earlier magazine work here is seeing how some particular ideas of his - on masculinity, on the all-consuming importance of fashion - that later blossomed in his longer works were first proposed, developed and tweaked along the road. What you realise is that Wolfe is a writer that worked on his craft relentlessly, spinning ideas and motifs that would eventually resurface again and again. At heart Wolfe is not really a 'writer' at all, but a philosopher of sorts. Where are we? How did we get here? and Why did we get here? are all the questions he asks - and can answer. Mauve Gloves focuses on the 1970s - why were grown men and women lying face down on a thick carpet in a hotel conference room moaning about their hemorroids? Wolfe thinks he has the answers. He is also scary when he predicts the future here - who was calling in the early 1970s the rise of fundamental Christianity in American politics (and attributing it to LSD)? For Wolfe LSD gave rise to a new righteousness in American youth, fundamentalism (or even neo-conservatism) simply being the middle-aged righteousness without the substance abuse. There is just no one else out there who could think like this. Tom Wolfe - American genius.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
When an author's canon includes such masterpieces as "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff," it is easy to overlook his lesser-known, albeit no less brilliant, earlier work. "Mauve Gloves and Madmen, Clutter and Vine" includes a handful of Wolfe's classic essays from the mid-1970s, including the title piece (which close Wolfe readers will notice he reprised in a "Bonfire" passage),"The Me Decade," and the hilarious "Street Fighters." Any Wolfe fan looking for something to nibble on while they await the long-overdue "A Man In Full" will thoroughly enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Richardson on April 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mauve Gloves and Madmen, Clutter and Vine is a collection of essays published in the mid-70s that embody the New Journalism movement which Tom Wolfe helped to found. In New Journalism, the author intermingles literary technique with traditional journalism in order to bring the reader into the piece and make them feel as though they were experiencing it first-hand as opposed to simply reading someone else's account. As one might expect, Tom Wolfe is a more than the titular leader of this movement, he's one of its grand masters.

The book begins with the tale of a well-known but unnamed writer who is ritualistically going over last month's bank statement, canceled checks, and unpaid bills. While the expenses mount and are suggestive of living above one's means, the writer isn't unnerved as most readers would be. In fact, he is nearly ecstatic. Money spent on flowers (from the florists Clutter & Vine) and caterers (Mauve Gloves and Madmen) for a cocktail party is evidence that he's "made it." He doesn't have to be like his immigrant father who worked as a tailor for years. He needn't do manual labor at all. He's educated and successful and free to write books and articles about the repressive nature of America vis-a-vis the underclass. Needless to say, the irony is completely lost on our renowned author.

Other sketches follow and, while not always directly related thematically, they nonetheless paint a picture of the times. Famously, it is in one of the articles contained in this collection that Mr. Wolfe coined the phrase "The Me Decade" to describe the 1970s. As with any form of journalism, the choice of topics, the way they are presented, etc. reflect the perspective of the journalist and his editors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By speedgeezer on March 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you get past the surprisingly unmemorable title, you will find a very enjoyable and thought provoking collection of essays on, as used to be said, The American Scene. Along the way, you will laugh at least partway out of the sneaker-sucking sludge that is the Mainstream Media.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Desmond on July 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It doesn't matter what he writes about, Tom Wolfe compels the reader to turn the pages. His style is wonderful, witty, and profound. He might get a bit heavy on product description, but his character sketches are absolutely perfect.
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