Back to Blood: A Novel

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Back to Blood: A Novel

There is very little magical writing: pretty much a reportorial this-happens-then-that-happens, very few memorable passages amidst the arid desert of his prose.

Back to Blood is as fraudulent as the forged paintings at the centre of its plot, falling victim to the social diseases it pretends to diagnose: gigantism, self-indulgence, superficiality masking as profundity, a hyperactive, hyperbolic acquisitiveness and an endless taste for the crudely obvious.

Nobody else writes like this and it is still an astonishingly extravagant performance in its own way. He’s tireless, it seems. The reader tires, though.

You want the novel to THUMP, you want it to SING, you really want it to make you go YeeaahhahhAHHHHHHH! But ultimately, it registers more as a meh.

No más, already. Tom Wolfe deserves a better editor. And Miami deserves a better novel.

Wolfe has always been high-bombast, but he loses any sense of a message; even if there’s no malice in the way he plunges after the rainbow of human foibles, it isn’t all that fun, either.

With "Back to Blood," he has given us a novel composed almost entirely of surfaces, with very little substance underneath.

Whether we like this book or not, we can’t deny there’s an awful lot of us here.

That line — “In Miami, everybody hates everybody” — pretty much sums up Mr. Wolfe’s view of the city, and it also describes the motor powering his entertaining but flawed new novel.

Miami deserves better, and so do we. The author of “Back to Blood” should have been sent back to work.

Kirkus Reviews : Back to Blood (15. September 2012)

Full of stereotyping and waspishness, sure, but a welcome pleasure from an old master and the best from his pen in a long while.