Tom Wolfe, whose journalism drew liberally on the techniques of fiction writing, and whose novels often aspired to the condition of the well-reported story, died today, in Manhattan, at the age of 88.
From the 1960s and 1970s, when Wolfe’s essays for Esquire and New York magazine helped to define the New Journalism and the “Me” Decade, down to more recent years, when his novels stretched to take in the bustling scenes of New York, Atlanta, and beyond, he frequently toed the line between stylish and flashy. This was as true of Wolfe the dresser as it was of Wolfe the writer.
As a writer, he favored ellipses and exclamation points, circuitous sentences and colorful argots. Sometimes virtuosic and sometimes overheated, Wolfe’s prose was unmistakably his. A sample of his most famous titles tells part of the tale: “There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy Kolored (Thphhhhhh!) Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby …” (1963), “The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!” (1965), “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” (1968), “The Right Stuff” (1979), “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1987), “A Man in Full” (1998).Corbis/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
As a dresser, he favored white suits — or cream, or ivory, or even, occasionally, ecru. These, too, were part of Wolfe’s style. Here, a look back at his sartorial flourishes.The Estate of David Gahr/Getty Images Ulf Andersen/Getty Images Susan Wood/Getty Images/Getty Images GAMBLIN Yann/Paris Match via Getty Images Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images Denver Post/Denver Post via Getty Images Horst P. Horst/Conde Nast via Getty Images David Corio/Redferns Michael Birt/Contour by Getty Images Francois Berthier/Paris Match/Contour by Getty Images Jonathan Becker/Contour by Getty Images
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Tom Wolfe's age at death. He was 88, not 87.
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