A Man in Full
|Publisher||Farrar, Straus & Giroux|
|November 12, 1998|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|LC Class||PS3573.O526 M26 1998|
A Man in Full is a novel by Tom Wolfe, published on November 12, 1998 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It is set primarily in Atlanta, with a significant portion of the story also transpiring in the East Bay region of Northern California.
This is Wolfe's second novel. A Man In Full features a number of point-of-view characters. These include Charles "Cap'm Charlie" Croker, a real estate mogul and member of Atlanta's high society who is suddenly facing bankruptcy; Martha Croker, his first wife, trying to maintain her social standing without her husband; Ray Peepgass, who is trying illegally to capitalize on Croker's fall; Roger "Too White" White II, a prominent black lawyer; and Conrad Hensley, a young man in prison who discovers Stoic philosophy.
The novel begins with the characters learning of the rumored rape of a young white heiress by a black superstar athlete, Fareek "The Cannon" Fanon. Though the incident itself is unimportant to the lives of the characters, the potential for the rumor to incite race riots in metropolitan Atlanta has a profound effect on all of their lives. Local politics and business interests become involved, including the president of the bank to which Croker is indebted, Roger Too White's former fraternity brother (now mayor of Atlanta), and the entirety of 'respectable' Atlanta society.
Released eleven years after Wolfe's bestselling novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full was widely anticipated; Wolfe was known to be working on the research for this follow-up effort for several years.
Most of the mainstream American newspapers and news magazines gave the book positive reviews. However, a second wave of reviews in more highbrow literary outlets were more critical. Some of this more pointed criticism, mixed with praise for Wolfe's style, came from established American novelists, including John Updike and Norman Mailer. In addition, novelist John Irving criticized Wolfe's novel during an interview on a Canadian television program. Wolfe countered this criticism in his book Hooking Up, calling the three authors his "three stooges" who were actually shaken by the support he received. The novelists, he claimed, were threatened by the success of his technique - writing a novel based on reporting techniques - and were failing to engage the world around them. According to Mailer's review, the book had sold over 750,000 copies by December 1998.
- A Man Half Full New York Review of Books. December 17th, 1998