Customer Reviews for

Back to Blood: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 56 )
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5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(9)

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(8)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(12)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

I've been a Wolfe fan since the 1960s. In BtoB, the author displ

I've been a Wolfe fan since the 1960s. In BtoB, the author displays a wonderful condensation of his skills. Perhaps like good wine, age improves storytellers. I can't imagine a more engaging, enjoyable romp through the craziness of the colliding ethnicities and cultures...
I've been a Wolfe fan since the 1960s. In BtoB, the author displays a wonderful condensation of his skills. Perhaps like good wine, age improves storytellers. I can't imagine a more engaging, enjoyable romp through the craziness of the colliding ethnicities and cultures of Miami. His characters are easily accessible. Folks you probably know. Their motivations may be convoluted and their accents a struggle, but at no time during my time with this book, despite some really creative situations, did I find myself saying, "No way!" As odd as some of the interactions get, none felt contrived or not true to the character.

Back to Blood is a tale of expectations -- both the ones fulfilled, and the ones that slip away. It's loud, raw and absorbing.

Mr. Wolfe treats this major city like one might treat an old friend, with lots of quirks and issues, but still someone to be loyal to. A great deal of research and time on the ground must have gone into this book and it shows. I recommend it to anyone with a taste for Florida's sunshine, rum drinks and a skeptical sense when it comes to fine art and/or ethnicity.

posted by RichardSutton on November 14, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Interesting but different

Somehow couldn't stop reading this book, as I have read all of his. However, this one had repetitive odd words to indicate sound effects and odd punctuation. I found it completely took me out of the story and it was highly irritating. I don't know if I would have read ...
Somehow couldn't stop reading this book, as I have read all of his. However, this one had repetitive odd words to indicate sound effects and odd punctuation. I found it completely took me out of the story and it was highly irritating. I don't know if I would have read it if I had known beforehand. The characters were also not very fully drawn, and most completely unlikable. I'm quite ambivalent about this book.

posted by Teresarose on December 28, 2012

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  • Posted November 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I've been a Wolfe fan since the 1960s. In BtoB, the author displ

    I've been a Wolfe fan since the 1960s. In BtoB, the author displays a wonderful condensation of his skills. Perhaps like good wine, age improves storytellers. I can't imagine a more engaging, enjoyable romp through the craziness of the colliding ethnicities and cultures of Miami. His characters are easily accessible. Folks you probably know. Their motivations may be convoluted and their accents a struggle, but at no time during my time with this book, despite some really creative situations, did I find myself saying, "No way!" As odd as some of the interactions get, none felt contrived or not true to the character.

    Back to Blood is a tale of expectations -- both the ones fulfilled, and the ones that slip away. It's loud, raw and absorbing.

    Mr. Wolfe treats this major city like one might treat an old friend, with lots of quirks and issues, but still someone to be loyal to. A great deal of research and time on the ground must have gone into this book and it shows. I recommend it to anyone with a taste for Florida's sunshine, rum drinks and a skeptical sense when it comes to fine art and/or ethnicity.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Like another reviewer I loved A Man in Full.  This is dreadful.

    Like another reviewer I loved A Man in Full.  This is dreadful.  The characters are under developed.  And although I was anxious to get to the end and quit reading the drivel, the ending totally left me hanging.  Nothing was resolved.  It was as if Tom Wolfe was as tired of writing the story as I was of reading it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Interesting but different

    Somehow couldn't stop reading this book, as I have read all of his. However, this one had repetitive odd words to indicate sound effects and odd punctuation. I found it completely took me out of the story and it was highly irritating. I don't know if I would have read it if I had known beforehand. The characters were also not very fully drawn, and most completely unlikable. I'm quite ambivalent about this book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 9, 2012

    I love Tom Wolfe! His writing is so alive and descriptive. Thi

    I love Tom Wolfe! His writing is so alive and descriptive. This book is no different. His use of written sound effects get you right into the action. And his character descriptions make you feel like you're standing right next to the person. I've read several of his books and they're always fun to read, but there are also social commentaries that bring it down to earth. I didn't find Back to Blood as biting as Bonfire of the Vanities, but there is still much to enjoy. And I did.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2012

    This book is irreverent, definitely not PC, tongue-in-cheek, pok

    This book is irreverent, definitely not PC, tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at the extremes of characters, but loads of romping fun. You just have to let yourself get into the excess that is the Miami he is writing about. You will either love it or hate it. For those who read Wolfe's "A Man in Full" and loved it, you will probably love this one too. Beneath it all are some characters who actually have morals and personal strength. Have fun!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I have known of Tom Wolfe¿s reputation for many years. For whate

    I have known of Tom Wolfe’s reputation for many years. For whatever reason, I had never read one of his novels until this one became available during a Christmas sale on the site of one of my dealers.  Perhaps I need to read one of Mr. Wolfe’s previous novels that helped to create his reputation. After reading this one, I am not at all clear how he has come to be as well respected as a novelist.  I found this work to be overly wordy, weakly plotted, characters that were not well developed and the story was left with little resolution.
    The city of Miami has become a cultural plethora in recent decades.  Peoples from Haiti, Cuba, Central and South America, multiple African nations, Russia and all regions of the United States have relocated to the beauty, opportunity and climate that are Miami.  Each of these groups is interested in “staying with blood” rather than mingling with other cultures.  While this behavior maintains (and further develops) one’s cultural identity, it can also create a climate of suspicion, paranoia and hostility.  The reader is introduced quickly into this world in the early pages of this novel.
    Nestor Camacho is a 25-year-old police officer who is in his first weeks as a part Miami Police Department’s elite Marine Patrol when he is required to remove a man who is sitting atop the 70-foot main mast of a yacht in a marina. This individual, it is later learned, is a Cuban refugee who would be granted asylum immediately upon his setting foot on American dry land.  If a Cuban refugee is apprehended before reaching land, he/she is returned to Cuba.  When Nestor rescues this individual just before he falls from his tall perch (in one of the most bizarre manners imaginable), he his hailed by his fellow police officers as a hero and totally disowned by his family and the Cuban community.  His girlfriend, Magdelena, dumps him so she can openly date her boss, Norman Lewis, a prominent Miami Psychiatrist who specializes in treating Pornography Addiction, an ailment he does not believe exists but who appears to be suffering with that affliction. His “prize” patient is Maurice Fleischmann, a billionaire who makes introduction of Dr. Lewis to the wealthier class of the Miami community.  One of those introductions is to Sergei Korolyov, an obscenely rich Russian “oligarch” whose “generosity” has provided Miami with its first world class art attraction.  How all of these characters are connected is an imaginative stretch for the reader but it is also the core of the book.
    This book could have been much better had it been better edited.  The author seems to go on the theory of, “Why use one word when five would suffice?” and goes to extremes in describing minor elements (such as listing ten different Solo Cup colors one of the characters saw on a yacht and repeatedly “echoing” mixed in conversations) that cause the book to be frustratingly slow and serve no other apparent purpose.  The book would have been better had it been better edited but Mr. Wolfe would have needed to tighten the plot dramatically for the book to be a good read.  The plot has little focus and the resolution is far too open-ended as well as having the feel of the author (finally) finding a place to stop writing.
    I was disappointed in my first visit with this author.  I would need to be convinced to read another of his works.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Excellent, could not put it down.

    Tom Wolf is a great American author. Bonfire of the Vanities is my favorite book, Back to Blood is another great novel. I was upset when I finished because I wanted to read more. I couldn't put this book down, I'd fall asleep reading it & start reading again when I wake up at night.
    Wolf with his acurate portrait of our time is a modern day Dickens.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    "A Man in Full" is in my Top 10 of all time.  I grew u

    "A Man in Full" is in my Top 10 of all time.  I grew up in Miami and could not wait to read this book.  I thought about quitting after 50 pages and wish I would have.  I think Tom has lost his magic.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2012

    Disappointing

    Good beginning then it drags. It gets moving again toward the end before falling on its face!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    Not sure

    Cant seem to get through the stupid comments mad by the characters that are far from developed

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    I found the characters unsympathetic, unpleasant, and under deve

    I found the characters unsympathetic, unpleasant, and under developed. The overuse of repetitive words and phrases was just plain annoying. Annoying...annoying...annoying.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    I DID read this all the way through but I also did a LOT of skim

    I DID read this all the way through but I also did a LOT of skimmimg. Ended up being glad I got it from the library & did NOT purchase. Would not recommend to my "reader" friends.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2012

    This book is just sad. First of it gets Miami wrong - the Cuban

    This book is just sad. First of it gets Miami wrong - the Cubans, the Jews, the Russians, the Haitians, are all Primitives and it is only the two WASP characters who understand the whole picture. There is no world, not in Miami, nor anywhere else where the Cubans wander around all day saying Dios Mio and the Jews say everything backwards and the African American police chief is just all African American and nothing else.

    The writing is tediously bombastic and the characters have no depth nor any context. It might have worked as a graphics novel but it really just reads like a Miami Based parody of "Bonfire".

    There is a great story to be told about the strange melange of Miami but Wolfe doesn't get it at all.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    Just ok

    Not as good as his others.


    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

    I listened to the audiobook version of "Back to Blood"

    I listened to the audiobook version of "Back to Blood" and, as long as it was, I was sorry when it concluded.  Wolfe is a dynamite story-
    teller, and the narration by Lou Diamond Phillips added greatly to the book's appeal.  Not only did Mr. Phillips perfectly capture the
    sardonic tone of Wolfe's third person description of events, each character's spoken words were delivered in a dialect and expression
    perfectly matching his/her ethnicity and personality.  A delightful listening experience!

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  • Posted July 7, 2013

    I¿m not certain Wolfe got this one right. The racial tensions in

    I’m not certain Wolfe got this one right. The racial tensions in Miami are there but I think Wolfe might need to come out and talk one to one with Miami’s youth. This one lacked the authenticity of his other works.

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  • Posted July 6, 2013

    Miami is a cauldron of ethnic groups for Wolfe to play with. It

    Miami is a cauldron of ethnic groups for Wolfe to play with. It has wealth like no other city I have seen and it dangerously displays it. There is so much culture in Miami for a man of Wolfe’s caliber to draw upon too. Much of it he got right in Back to Blood, though some of the youth culture not so accurate. All in all though, it was a fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Worst Novel in many years

    What a waste of my time. Since I was dumb enough to buy this book I felt obligated to finish it. The book needs less wordy description, more story, and some attempt at editing, (wires holding up a sailboat mast are "stays" not "cables." ) The ending is weak; something you would expect from a first time novelist.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Can I be Liz?

    Plz?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Someone

    How do we know ur two ppl if ur only on one nook. Creep

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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