Books: Tom Wolfe and His Electric Wordmobiles

THE PUMP HOUSE GANG (309 pages) and THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST (416 pages) by Tom Wolfe. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $5.95 each.

The question is not only whether Tom Wolfe can be taken seriously but whether he can be taken at all. He uses a language that explodes with comic-book words like "POW!" and "boing." His sentences are shot with ellipses, stabbed with exclamation points, or bombarded with long lists of brand names and anatomical terms. He is irritating, but he did develop a new journalistic idiom that has brought relief from standard...

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