16 May, 2018
The New York Times reported that he had been in the hospital after suffering from an infection. The writer pioneered New Journalism, a 1960s and 1970s literary movement characterized by colorful longform pieces written in a subjective voice.
Wolfe, known for his signature white suit, was easily recognizable when taking walks in his neighborhood. Wolfe himself coined the term in 1973 when he published a book of articles called The New Journalism, featuring the likes of Truman Capote, Joan Didion and Gay Talese, who penned the famous literary-style profile "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold". "All the same, he was one of the most modest and kindest people I have ever met". His theory of literature, which he preached in print and in person and to anyone who would listen, was that journalism and nonfiction had "wiped out the novel as American literature's main event".
Heading to New York City in 1962, he worked at the New York Herald Tribune, which encouraged its writers to break the conventions of newspaper writing.
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From 1965 to 1981, Wolfe produced nine nonfiction books. "The question is not only whether Tom Wolfe can be taken seriously but whether he can be taken at all", a Time magazine critic wrote in 1968. His biggest hit, "The Bonfire of the Vanities", was a lacerating satire of money, power and NY life in the '80s.
Wolfe's other books include The Pump House Gang, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Painted Word and Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, which includes his well-known essay about the Me Decade. It's part of what made his books catnip for Hollywood producers; four of them, including The Last American Hero, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Almost Heroes, were turned into major films. He is survived by his wife Sheila, and their two children, Alexandra and Tommy. He was 88 years old.