Tom Wolfe - Back to Blood (4 stars)

A broad, loud and funny American drama set in Miami

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Tom Wolfe - Back to Blood

With the exception of Joan Didion's Miami and John Sayles’ Los Gusanos, Tom Wolfe’s fourth novel is the finest book ever written about Florida’s Atlantic-facing coastal metropolis. Wilier than writers half his age, Wolfe knows that great novels can be written about cities in transformation from influx and immigration. New York in the late 19th century, Paris between the wars, London after the arrival of HMS Windrush and Berlin post-wall fall have all proved rich source material for writers.

Back to Blood is a 700-page digression and narrative head rush around the debate on the migration of Cubans, Haitians and Russians into white America’s once most beloved holiday resort and what it means for the dwindling ‘Anglo’ minority voice. As in Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe plays it broad, loud and funny. Authority figures, familial stereotypes, ethical dilemmas and multicultural anxieties are stacked up only to be knocked down by America’s most waggish and compulsive literary trickster.

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