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Novel parallels real life

Many aspects of Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons are similar to several real life people and incidents.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 17:33 IST

Tom Wolfe, who wrote about lacrosse culture in I Am Charlotte Simmons, reiterates the novel's setting is not Durham, home to Duke University and its embattled lacrosse team.

At a book festival on the Duke campus, the author said he did notice similarities between his fictional characters and people at the centre of the recent rape investigation involving Duke lacrosse players.

Wolfe's 2004 novel, set on a fictional northern university campus, portrays "sexually aggressive lacrosse players" and a white district attorney who needs black votes to be re-elected. Durham's district attorney, Mike Nifong, is white. But none of the characters "lived within 600 miles (965 Km) of Durham, North Carolina," Wolfe said Saturday at the North Carolina Festival of the Book.

 Tom Wolfe

Duke has been mentioned as the possible setting for 'Charlotte Simmons,' partially because the fictional Dupont University includes the Gothic architecture that marks Duke and also because Wolfe's daughter attended Duke.

In the book, athletes at Dupont are depicted as lumbering, thuggish "herpes pustules" who get all the women and get away with everything. In lacrosse, one character says, "white boys are the ones with the machismo."

Wolfe said his next book will be on immigration. His other novels include The Bonfire of the Vanities, one of the best-selling books of the 1980s, and A Man in Full, runner-up for the National Book Award.