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Back to Blood: A Novel Hardcover – October 23, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
So this is a very personal book for me. It is about the community Miami in which I grew up, and the cultural and economic forces which make the former sleepy Southern outpost, full of Georgians like my parents into a world-class city. Money and culture define the town-the old guard WASPs (like me), the first, second and third waves of Cuban migration, the Haitians, and now the Russians some of whom are more brutal than the Columbian cowboys of thirty years ago who once staged a gun battle on the Palmetto Expressway.
But it is money that truly defines this place as Tom Wolfe so aptly describes. Social climbing has never gone away, and if you want to be a crook around here, the surest way to succeed and escape the interest of law enforcement and the press is to spread cash around and get your name on every cultural institution in sight.
Wolfe may be the best chronicler of urban life in the modern era. Bonfire of the Vanities nails New York.Read more ›
Along the way there are some other happy surprises: Wolfe's satire of the Miami Basel scene, his scathing commentary on "art districts" (like Wynwood), his insights on the humorlessness of contemporary art experts, his comic send-up of the women at a Jewish "active seniors" community etc. The weakest, most indecipherable character might be John Smith, the preppie investigative journalist who most closely resembles Wolfe himself. So much for writing from experience.
If this book has a serious shortcoming it's that the plot takes too long to emerge. I read brilliant scene after brilliant scene but the storyline was faint to non-existent until I was at least half way through. Wolfe's prose and observations are absorbing enough that I put up with it, but for a while it was more of a montage than a novel. When the novel finally hits its stride, it's hard to put down, but I would have liked it to happen earlier and last longer. Also, some of the characters introduced in detail in the early chapters vanish and don't reappear until much much later, in roles that don't seem equal to the foundation Wolfe built for them. The ending is a bit abrupt -- a chapter or two more could have helped.Read more ›
Hopefully, one day, people will recognize he is our time's Charles Dickens, whose voluminous works chronicle a certain era like none other. Wolfe has never stopped being a journalist. Novels provide a less controversial medium for him to use his stream of consciousness technique for his characters; used in non-fiction, it left its author open to attack: `How do you know what Gus Grissom was thinking?' Whether in fiction or non-fiction, though, his technique always has had a certain credibility because of the depth of his research and his insight into human nature - his ability to see people as Everyman, acknowledge how the world looks from Everyman's eyes, and sense how Everyman gets through his day.
Wolfe's characters have a certain flatness to them, but it's a graphic-novel flatness, rich in detail, exaggerations intended. While spending an enormous amount of time inside their heads, he devotes little time to their back stories, a rebellion against a Freudian view of the human condition. Wolfe's characters don't dwell on yesterday, their childhoods, or long ago. They're not deeply conflicted. They are hard-working folks making their way up in life, people from small-town or working-class backgrounds confronted with the foibles and pretensions of modern life, executives with big mortgages and kids in private schools who worry about losing it all if they make the wrong move.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like Tom Wolfe. I've loved all of his novels. I read a scathing review of this book by some wag in the WSJ. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Doo Dah Man
A great tale about a superstar cop’s travails in a full frontal exposure of modern day Miami as the backdrop for the struggles of race, wealth and psychiatry portrayed therein. Read morePublished 24 days ago by avande7217
The books starts off with some intense, vibrant writing. In the end, it feels like there was not enough of a plot to keep the story moving. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Timothy McKenna
The writing is good, but not brilliant. The editing is atrocious! About half the book shouldn't be there at all, and what is needs work. Read morePublished 2 months ago by D. B. Hopkins
I've read all of Tom Wolfe's novels-this is the fourth. It is SENSATIONAL. I only wish it had been longer than its 750 pages. Read morePublished 3 months ago by elliot stamler
Big fan of Tom Wolfe's work, unfortunately this aimless tome began and ended without much inspiration. I'm not worse off for reading Back to Blood, but no better either. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jack Steinbeck