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on December 4, 2015
Even given Tom Wolfe's stone-age treatment of his female characters which verges on misogyny, this is wildly entertaining, and offers a fly-on-the-wall perspective on a multitude of Miami social milieus. (In classic TW fashion!) I can't tell how accurate some of these portrayals are, having never been to anyone's house in Hialeah, for instance. But the characters and moments are vivid and memorable. There are some unresolved issues at the end-- loose ends that needed to be tied up. But still, the amazing dialogue, wicked humor and astute descriptions make for a powerful book.
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on August 13, 2013
At least I never thought mystery novels were something I would like. I really found this book to be amazingly captivating and hated that it ended.
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on September 21, 2013
This book, as with most Tom Wolfe's recent books, goes down like sweet gossip, but somehow Back to Blood struck me even deeper than Wolfe's other somewhat biographical novels -- biographical in terms of place and culture and society in that place -- maybe it was all the sex depicted. I had also always been curious about Miami Basel, and here, Wolfe gives a hysterical account of it, although again, the entire scene is teeming with sexual content. However, having worked in the art scene in NYC for a few years, Wolfe is absolutely right in calling it the way it is; contemporary art is growing more and more pornographic than offering up anything else. Wolfe's style bounces and flows through the various Miami scenes, connecting them all in a thriller, whose plot helps the narrative, but takes second place to all the deliciously depicted characters and scenes. Wolfe's descriptions of Miami are memorable. Just love those Cubans!
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on December 25, 2012
A couple of years ago I read Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe and thought he had captured the "brokerage" industry and the characters - hit the nail on the head. A few years from now, new readers may have similar feelings about Back to Blood. Readers of 2012 will be disappointed.

I like the writing and well-known books of Leo Tolstoy. However, were he alive today and were to write a book about Florida, his language, descriptions, etc would be out of sync. For example, love scenes of his era are sex scenes in today's literature. I don't think Tolstoy would feel comfortable or have the vocabulary to deal with the world of today.

Wolfe's description of anatomical sex features and scenes involving human sexuality don't work on two levels. First, they date him in the 1950s. Secondly, his characters have high-school education and are familiar with the streets. He constantly reminds us that they don't understand words like "iconic" or know the names of famous artists. Thus, in a scene at a trendy art show, the Cuban cop wonders about the capacity of the vaginal channel. I don't think the character would use "vaginal channel" to describe what he saw.

An annoying element used throughout the book is the sequence of colons to indicate the thoughts of the character. For example, Tom says, "Hi, Jane. ::::: Man she really looks hot. I wonder if she's dating Jim. ::::: How about lunch. The colons get read old real fast.

This is a long book. Characters are developed. It just ends. Another reviewer said there were too many loose threads. Not disagreeing, my take is that he hit a deadline and ended the book.

A few years from now, people may overlook the dated language and length as they do in the classics of Tolstoy, but today's readers, I believe, look for contemporary language and expect character-appropriate language.
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on October 8, 2013
Tom Wolfe has got his fingers on the pulse of Miami. I lived there for years and he has really got it: his analysis of the various nationals and how they relate to each other and to the Anglos is spot on. The book is fast paced. I had no idea it would be a page-turner. Characters are great. Definitely a worthwhile read.
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on July 10, 2013
A great story! A keen social Observer! Maybe not his best-written, but classic Tom Wolfe!
Don't pass this one up simply because it's set in the alien cultures of Miami.
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on March 5, 2013
If there are any lingering doubts about what Wolfe thinks of the world of the venal, opportunistic , self-agrandizing herd-animals that is "high society" or about his regard for men and women of good character, reading Back to Blood will dispel them.
Ric Williams
Helendale, CA
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on July 13, 2014
This novel is by an 85 year old writer. He is now unexcelled and into the 21st Century in Miami instead of NYC. It was LSD and then bad ideas and bad ideas and suffering and then he kept on dealing with named and nameless characters of the modern era, like some chronicler of the days of a normal Roman Empire. Just any secular Empire will do actually. There was some line about it as saying we were returned to tribalism as the last edge to hang onto. But then there is more than that. I think there is a strain of thought my friend who is an anthropologist who wrote the Plains of Dead Cities having to do with the need to treat art with respect.
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on June 28, 2017
Exactly as described. Good Quality.
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on March 15, 2014
The first part of the book deals with Miami's Cuban community and he tries to inject lots of Spanish terms, but all wrongly applied and/or mispelled. It is like a Anglo tourist describing his two days in Acapulco. He get everything wrong about the natives and the place. But then he deals with a social climber porn-psychiatrist, a WASP cartoon character, and that's funny. All in all it is a very entertaining book, written in the traditional porn novel literary style, which is OK with me. In summary, superficial but entertaining.
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