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Back to Blood [Hardcover]

Tom Wolfe
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Oct 2012

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, an ambitious young journalist and his Yale-marinated editor; a psychiatrist who specialises in sex addiction and his Latina nurse by day, mistress 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, and a nest of shady Russians.

Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe's previous best-selling novels, The Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full, Back to Blood is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (25 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022409727X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224097277
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 217,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom Wolfe was born in 1931. He has written for The Washington Post and The New York Herald Tribune and is credited with the creation of 'New Journalism'. Between 1984 and 1985 Wolfe wrote his first novel The Bonfire of the Vanities in serial form for Rolling Stone magazine. The novel was published in 1987. It was number one of the New York Times bestseller list for two months and remained on the list for more than a year. He is the author of sixteen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and I Am Charlotte Simmons. He lives in New York City.

Product Description


"Tom Wolfe...remains The Dude when it comes to surveying the crazed, bracing absurdities of our national life. Back to Blood is marked by both Wolfe's stylistic freneticim and his formidable reportorial gifts. Beginning his ninth decade, Tom Wolfe has brio to burn." (Douglas Kennedy The Times)

"If this novel were rushed into A&E, it would immediately be put under heavy sedatipm." (Peter Kemp Sunday Times)

"Back to Blood dazzles so much that you might want to read it through dark glasses. In terms of scale, setting and purpose, we are very much back in Bonfire." (Simon O’Hagan Independent on Sunday)

"Tom Wolfe returns with a thunderous thwack, fizzing outrageously at the age of 81 with a slipstreamed comet of a novel. All Human Life is Here!... It's even better than his great hit The Bonfire of the Vanities. Unmissable stuff." (Tom Adair Scotsman)

"This is an exhilarating novel. The satire is scalpel-like and very funny." (Wynn Wheldon Spectator)

Book Description

Tom Wolfe is back, with his most brilliant novel since The Bonfire of the Vanities, jettisoning us into the turbulent heart of America's racial vortex: Miami.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
He may now be 81, but there are no signs that Tom Wolfe is mellowing. Is his latest "Back to Blood" another magnificent addition to the Wolfe Hall or is he merely bringing up the bodies? Well for me, it's a little of both. The book's great strength and also its main weakness are in the similarities between this Miami-set story of racial and cultural tension and his New York-set classic "The Bonfire of the Vanities". There are familiar themes: newspapers, racial tension, the super-rich behaving disgracefully and lost in their own ego-mania, and a lively writing style shot through with angry humour, all of which bring to mind "The Bonfire of the Vanities". As there, he takes several characters from different worlds whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. But while taking those ingredients might seem a very welcome thing, the end result suffers in comparison.

Part of the problem is that the issues in New York that were part of "The Bonfire of the Vanities" seemed to define an age and had things that readers can recognize as, albeit extreme, versions of what they might see in their own cities and countries. The Miami issues are, to a degree, specific to that city and thereby hangs part of the issue. Racial tension is not, of course, confined to Miami, but the extreme pressure of the Cuban influx is, although that's not to imply that lessons cannot be learned from here. However, a further factor is that there are other writers, notably Carl Hiaasen who have made a career out of Miami novels so it's debatable how much new that Wolfe is able to bring to the table. With "Bonfire", you felt that Wolfe really lived the New York experience. With "Back to Blood" you feel that he has researched it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun in the Sun 3 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Miami gets the tom Wolfe treatment in the same way that New York did in Bonfire and Atlanta did (to a lesser extent) in A Man in Full. I can't say that I know Miami, but I also can't say I know Miami much better after reading this book. Much as I admire and like Tom Wolfe, I was reminded an awful lot of another Floridian author, Carl Hiassen, as I read Back to Blood. Except that Hiassen doesn't have to live up to being A Novelist and just gets on with his plot. Wolfe, however, carries the burden of being An Important American Writer, and I felt it showed in this novel. He tries to insert little stylistic twists into his narrative that seemed a bit forced and which ultimately became irritating as the book progressed. Frustratingly, I could see no need for this as Wolfe can write as gripping a story as anyone without any need for tricky prose. The opening scenes of Back to Blood testify to this, with a set piece that is imaginative, original and amusing, catapulting you into the novel with one swoop.
Once you're caught, Wolfe pulls you into his Miami world. As in many of his novels, he's peopled it with a variety of larger than life characters but, I have to say, none are too convincing. I kept getting the feeling, if anything, that Miami was NOT like Wolfe portrays it. This was a WASP's view and, as he demonstrated in Bonfire of the Vanities, that's a world he knows inside out. But what does Tom Wolfe know of how a Hiatian or a Cuban views the world of South Florida? He failed to convince me that he knew much, really, and he also failed to convince me that he could write with any authority about how young people see the world either. Whichever character's voice he chose to narrate a scene, the voice of Tom Wolfe tended to drown it out.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We're not in Miami anymore, Toto 13 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There's a scene towards the end of Back to Blood when we finally get inside the secret studio of the elusive Russian artist Igor Drukovich. In public an arch-devotee of realism, Igor has hidden away in his studio a series of copies of modernist, surrealist, abstract and cubist masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Kandinksy and Braque -- the very artists he sneers at in public. But it turns out they are perfect forgeries Igor has been living off, laughing behind his hand as he deludes the art establishment which has rejected him.
It's hard not to suspect this might have something to do with Wolfe's own very public spat with the literary modernists. Like his character Igor, Wolfe is an exponent of realism in an age when it's out of fashion. Like Igor, he has publicly attacked the fashionable . Is he perhaps hinting that, like Igor, he could effortlessly replicate his rivals' works, while they couldn't copy his realism?
The thing is, though, that Wolfe hasn't proved all that versatile in his fictional career. After the dazzling success of Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full he decided to turn his hand to something different in I am Charlotte Simmons. He tried to write the sort of novel his rivals excel at, set on the small canvas of a university campus, and focused on the interior life of its characters, but the result fell flat. Robbed of material suited to the satire at which he excels, he fell back on toilet humour -- literally, with a grotesque recital of the gruntings and strainings of a male undergraduate at stool.
Thankfully in Back to Blood he is back to what he does best, painting the life of an entire city, and following a wide cast of characters and the intricate ways they're connected. The protagonist is Nestor Camacho, an ambitious young cop.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for Tom Wolfe fans
Bought for the husband, who thoroughly enjoyed it.
Published 29 days ago by Heather van Straten
3.0 out of 5 stars Shabby copy
Although described as "used and good condition" the book was shabby
Published 1 month ago by Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Blood
Enjoyed Back to Blood . Up to usual Tom Wolfe standard. Informative and amusing . Looking forward to his next Book.
Published 4 months ago by Laurie Fox
1.0 out of 5 stars To sum it up: This is VULGAR TRASH
To sum it up: This is VULGAR TRASH, admittedly well made in the manner of AIRPORT LITERATURE, entertaining but just not at the level of some of Mr.Wolfe's earlier works.
Published 6 months ago by Richard Vornberg
4.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking ride
Wolfe's usual coruscating tale of greed, selfishness and racial disharmony in the US, this time set in the superficial paradise of Florida. Read more
Published 7 months ago by ABK
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to Blood
Nestor Camacho is a Cuban-American cop whose greatest act triggers his worst nightmare when he is sent out onto Biscayne Bay to rescue a would-be immigrant who is in great danger... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Erin Britton
4.0 out of 5 stars Still thinking about it in his eighties!
Does anybody else write big novels set in today's world covering important themes such as racial tensions. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Steve J
4.0 out of 5 stars We een Mee-Ah-mee Now
American cities and culture have been dissected by Tom Wolfe before but in Back To Blood he takes his scalpel like prose to Miami and its melting pot of culture, creed and beliefs. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Syriat
5.0 out of 5 stars Fizzing with energy!
I love the sheer exuberance of Tom Wolfe's prose. It makes me pleasantly tired to read it - I can't stop galloping through the chapters. Read more
Published 10 months ago by expertlady
1.0 out of 5 stars I tried, I really did
What with it being my first Tom Wolfe experience. But I just found it so drearily uninteresting and overly drawn-out to the point of being unreadable. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bargin Hunter
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