Nadja Spiegelman at The Paris Review:
Tom Wolfe died yesterday at age eighty-eight. Between 1965 and 1981, the dapper white-suited father of New Journalism chronicled, in pyrotechnic prose, everything from Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters to the first American astronauts. And then, having revolutionized journalism with his kaleidoscopic yet rigorous reportage, he decided it was time to write novels. As he said in his Art of Fiction interview, “Practically everyone my age who wanted to write somehow got the impression in college that there was only one thing to write, which was a novel and that if you went into journalism, this was only a cup of coffee on the road to the final triumph. At some point you would move into a shack—it was always a shack for some reason—and write a novel. This would be your real métier.” With The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe wrote a sprawling, quintessential magnum opus of New York in the eighties. His first two novels were runaway best sellers, and his success won him the bitter envy of Norman Mailer, John Updike, and John Irving, among others.