A big, panoramic story of the new America, as told by our master chronicler of the way we live now.
As a police launch speeds across Miami's Biscayne Bay-with officer Nestor Camacho on board-Tom Wolfe is off and running. Into the feverous landscape of the city, he introduces the Cuban mayor, the black police chief, a wanna-go-muckraking young journalist and his Yale-marinated editor; an Anglo sex-addiction psychiatrist and his Latina nurse by day, loin lock by night-until lately, the love of Nestor's life; a refined, and oh-so-light-skinned young woman from Haiti and her Creole-spouting, black-gang-banger-stylin' little brother; a billionaire porn addict, crack dealers in the 'hoods, "de-skilled" conceptual artists at the Miami Art Basel Fair, "spectators" at the annual Biscayne Bay regatta looking only for that night's orgy, yenta-heavy ex-New Yorkers at an "Active Adult" condo, and a nest of shady Russians. Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe's previous bestselling novels, BACK TO BLOOD is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.
Two hundred pages into Wolfe's frantic potboiler about Miami's melting pot, a description of City Hall reminds readers of the vivid detail that made Wolfe (The Bonfire of the Vanities) a literary icon. Yet despite flashes of "the right stuff", his latest novel comprises not an expos of popular culture so much as a lurid compendium of clich s. The prologue features a scandal-fearing newspaper editor fretting as his wife tries to park her mini-hybrid at a trendy restaurant, but the action begins with marine patrolman Nestor Camacho speeding across Biscayne Bay. Unfortunately, his moment of glory dissolves into humiliation when he is condemned for arresting, after saving, a Cuban refugee. Resolute in pressing on, a bewildered Nestor works with reporter John Smith to unravel fraud at the city's new art museum and uncover the truth behind an incident of school violence. In the process, he meets elegant Haitian beauty Ghislaine, whose professor father desperately hopes she'll "pass" for white. African Americans, Russian migr s, and Jewish retirees also appear: ethnic groups separated by language, tribe, and class; linked together by sex, money, and real estate. Filling his prose with sound effects, foreign phrases, accented English, and slang, Wolfe creates his own Miami sound machine noisy, chaotic, infused with tropical rhythms, and fueled by the American dream. The result is a book louder than it is deep; more sensational than it is thought provoking; less like Wolfe at his best, more like tabloid headlines recast as fiction.
Back to Blood
This book was just a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it!
Back to Blood
I am a third generation Miamian and have lived in Miami my entire life. During my life I have lived in many different parts of Miami and am very familiar with the locales, and the cultural and social issues laid bare in Mr. Wolfe's latest novel. I couldn't put this book down. All I can say is...Dude you nailed it! Amazing. To those critics out there - this is Miami - it's just hard to believe unless you really KNOW Miami from the inside. Great job!
A terrible disappointment
While usually a great fan of Mr. Wolfe's books, this time he has delivered a miss. The characters are two-dimensional, at best, the story is predictable on the few occasions when it is not outright dull. Stylistically, the author has chosen to rely heavily on quirky grammatical devices and oft-repeated adjectives that are distracting, awkward, and ultimately unsuccessful in advancing or improving the story. The book is a joyless slog from beginning to end. Even a great writer is bound to produce an occasional stinker. My advice is to read one of the author's earlier books (A Man in Full, perhaps).