Lenny’s nemesis dies at 88

Lenny’s nemesis dies at 88


norman lebrecht

May 15, 2018

The best-selling author Tom Wolfe, whose Radical Chic: The Party at Lenny’s, exposed human cracks in an American idol, died today.

He was best-known for the Wall Street wind-up novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities.



  • Brian B says:

    Was it he who invented the term “radical chic?”

    • V.Lind says:

      Yup. And Lenny features as the star of that piece, if memory serves — something about entertaining celebrity black activists (maybe Panthers) in his fashionable abode. And perhaps (in Wolfe’s view), wanting credit for all that that implied.

      And “the me generation,” which, curious as it may seem now, was about people of the ’70s.

      And “the right stuff,” about the astronauts, though it has come to describe, rather nicely, anyone who takes on difficulties with the right sort of approach. (Not a lot of it about these days).

  • Esfir Ross says:

    The author of greatest book of 20century “Bonfire of vanity”-my favored book in American literature. Master of Universe-genius.

  • collin says:

    Marching in Selma, as Lenny did with Harry Belafonte, was hardly radical, or chic. Jews were indispensable in the civil rights movement in America.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    RIP – very sad, I expected him to live and write longer – his last book, ‘The Kingdom of Speech’ is also in a class by itself and it indicates that his mind was very sharp in spite of his age.

    Three wonderful books buy Tom Wolfe, my favourites inter alia: ‘Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers’, ‘The Painted Word’, and ‘From Bauhaus to Our House.’

    However, I don’t like his fiction – in those books there is always a good start, but he never could finish them at the same level – everything just tracks out, in those books he made it easy for himself.