Review of Hooking Up

Midge Decter, Commentary, January 2001.


All of which lends a certain extraneous interest to Hooking Up, a hodgepodge of articles and essays written on various topics with varying degrees of seriousness and aplomb and put together with the air of having been cleared off Wolfe’s desk to make room for his next large and ambitious work. There is, for instance, an amusing novella clearly written by the erstwhile much-too-clever Tom Wolfe. And there is a piece on the old New Yorker magazine and its fabled editor, William Shawn, which, when it was first published many years ago, caused a huge stir of protest from a variety of eminences. (A number of reviewers of Hooking Up have singled out this piece as having given them particular pleasure, perhaps because it is so clearly a work of the old Wolfe, full of telling bits of ridicule, but in fact it does nothing to account for the great power exercised within the literary community by the New Yorker of that era or by its mysteriously unlikely editor.)