For those waiting for new Tom Wolfe novel, Rolling Stone to publish a spinoff from the work

November 30, 1996|By NEWSDAY

NEW YORK -- The wait for a new novel from Tom Wolfe will

have lasted 10 years -- until next November -- when his publisher brings out the writer's first hardcover fiction since the popular "Bonfire of the Vanities."

Meanwhile, Wolfe is offering an appetizer in the pages of Rolling Stone, where "Bonfire" first appeared as a 27-part "serial novel," and his book publisher has offered a few other details of the much-anticipated work.

"Ambush at Fort Bragg," a tale of sensationalistic TV reporting that debuts in the Dec. 12 issue of Rolling Stone, was spun off by Wolfe from his novel-in-progress.

"He conceived this as a scene in the book and then realized it didn't fit," said publisher Roger Straus Sr., the president of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, who added that Wolfe's novel will be called "Chocolate City."

"The novel is set in Atlanta," Straus added. "It's very much like 'Bonfire of the Vanities' because it has a large cast, all ethnic types and it's fast-moving."

When "Bonfire" was published in 1987, minting such terms as "masters of the universe" (to describe the new breed of ruthless Wall Street money men), Newsday critic Dan Cryer called it "an exhilarating tale of high life and low life, with an occasional stop in between, in today's New York City." The book was a big best seller, generating nearly 4 million copies in paperback alone, as well as a poorly received movie version starring Tom Hanks.

Although the final half of "Ambush at Fort Bragg" will appear in Rolling Stone's year-end issue, word from the magazine is that impatient movie people have been clamoring to see the conclusion right away.

Pub Date: 11/30/96

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