Baby Boomer in Raleigh NC. Faves include James Lee Burke, CJ Box, Baldacci, Flynn, Child, DeMille, Crais, Connolly, Thor, Coes, L'amour. Average two books/week.
What a Hoot!..... Tom Wolfe does Carl Hiaasen does Confederacy of Dunces. A wonderful romp thru the over-the-top and down-the-rabbit hole world of modern day Miami. All that is missing is Horatio Cain and Tony Montana and "my little friend".
Lou Diamond Phillips does a fine narration making the Cuban accents intelligible.
This is for Miami what Confederacy of Dunces was for New Orleans.
This is mostly a compelling read/listen. The story and subplots are captivating and the characters are well-drawn. As always, Wolfe is a provocative thinker and writer who has a fresh way of looking at old, seemingly settled aspects of American life and culture. So, definitely would recommend.
My only hesitation is a growing impatience with Wolfe's writing style -- the Electric Kool-Aid schtick that was innovative in the '70s, and still refreshing in the '90s, but now is more distracting and annoying than illuminating, like a monotonous drumbeat. Perhaps that comment simply shows my age, but Wolfe's stories with, say, Elmore Leonard's sparse story-telling would be a terrific combination.
I'm a huge fan of Tom Wolfe and have read everything he has written with relish. As expected, the carefully observed culture and characters are central to a web of story that twists and leaps with wit and surprise.
Not expected was the repetition of phrases and descriptions such that I kept wanting to hit the fast forward button to get to the next paragraph. Wolfe is known for his verbosity but I don't recall such repetitiousness in previous efforts. A ruthless editor could have saved a good 10% of my time to the benefit of what otherwise is a fascinating and enjoyable read.
It's hard to beat the opening event--a daring rescue by our protagonist, Officer Nestor Camacho.
Lou Diamond Phillips is remarkable in the expressiveness of his voice. His command of accents ranges from Cuban to Russian to Long Island to redneck. Without his carefully differentiated portrayals of the characters, Back to Blood would not have been nearly as much fun.
I was moved by the inner voice of Magdalena, a Cuban nurse who aspires to raise her status and to socialize with the rich and famous people of Miami, but who deeply feels prejudice and condescension coming from some of the rich folk.
I really cared about the characters, and I enjoyed Tom Wolfe's prose and dialogue, so beautifully performed by Lou Diamond Phillips.
The full panoply of human folly is on display as only Wolfe can do--greed, envy, lust, petty self-interest, tribalism, hubris. Phillips' narration is superb.
Where else can you hear loins, mons venus, lubricious sprinkled on every page? Who uses words like those either verbally or written, ever, besides TW?. Not much of a plot, more of a fabulous character study. Fully fleshed out characters come to life but sadly drop from the pages, tantalizing plot threads are disappointingly abandoned but what whacky juicy fun anyway. Its why you came. Enjoy. Narration, accents and pacing just wonderful.
I was so looking forward to listening to this book, I bought it the first day it was out. Being of Cuban heritage and living in Miami, it's always interesting to see how "outsiders" perceive "us." In any case, I haven't even finished listening to this audiobook - I'm only two chapters in - but I am SO ANNOYED with the reader's unintelligeble Spanish, his mispronunciations of ENGLISH words (like Bri-kell - a neighborhood in Miami) that I feel compelled ... no DRIVEN ... to warn others to get the e-book or the hardcopy. If you speak SPANISH or live in Miami, this narrator will make you crazy! The city of Miami is arguably a looming character in this book .... it plays a role just as much as the real characters .... I can't believe that a professional actor wouldn't go the distance to find out how people actually speak in that location. I don't know if I can go on listening to this ....
Dont know - But I love listening to books.
Excellent. Should win an award. I have new found respect. He is very versatile, consistant and amazing. I dont believe this book would have read as well without him. I hope he gets royalties on every sale. He is an artist.
At times but too long. About 1/4 of the way - caught my interest.
Typical Tom Wolf - a fun novel.
I didn't read the print version, but Lou Diamond Phillips was magnificent and I can't wait to listen to other audiobooks he's narrated.
Bonfire of the Vanities for big character creation
No, but I certainly will from here on!
This book introduced me to the complexity of the Cuban community in Miami which in my own ignorance, I had thought of as fairly one-dimensional. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the community and its issues.
I get that sex and pornography were major themes in the book and in our culture, but there was a little too much of the bump, bump, grind, grind. I get it.
I agree with one other reviewer who said the end felt rushed and unresolved and I think I was looking for something out of the Haitian family's character development that never quite materialized.
Having said that, this is the kind of book I look to Tom Wolfe for - a big send-up of American culture warts and all.
After the stinker that was _I am Charlotte Simmons_, _Back to Blood_ is a welcome return of the Tom Wolfe fans of good writing love.
Too much of the "PUMP PUMP PUMP, GRIND GRIND GRIND, SPRAY SPRAY SPRAY, YADA YADA YADA" sex scenes and whoever told him - a) police officers still carry revolvers and b) Glock makes revolvers - should be beaten to death with a bag of used typewriter ribbons, but otherwise good stuff. Very compelling until the end.
My biggest criticism is the abrupt ending - didn't feel like anything was really resolved. He finally has characters that are interesting and empathetic - as opposed to the Charlotte Simmons crowd - and they were just abandoned. It's the literary equivalent of _The Sopranos_.
If this is Tom Wolfe's last book, it's a nice exit from the stage, but he will still be better remembered for earlier works.