Stephen Amidon ought perhaps to forget that he ever read a word of Tom Wolfe. The Primitive, two novels ago, mimicked The Bonfire of the Vanities by showing a man’s comfortable life disintegrating after he knocks someone down in his car. The New City, his ambitious next offering, was widely seen as trying to do for the Seventies what Wolfe did for the Eighties. And now Human Capital samples the older writer twice, including not only a financier on the slide but also, rather astonishingly, another Bonfire-style car accident. Surely thinking up non-Wolfeian plot devices is not beyond him?
Set in Connecticut suburbia in 2001, the novel has a formal, quasi-musical structure. Each of its six parts advances through the perspectives of the same four narrators, with the order in which they appear continually shuffled and all four figuring twice in the climactic sixth part. They are Drew, a