Back to Blood, by Tom Wolfe

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

I guess when you are a great novelist you can be lazy because that’s the only way I can describe this audio book which began with such interest and just dropped dead in what should have been the middle of a plot. Instead, Wolfe takes you through an intricate tale involving the Cuban Community in Florida near Miami — Hialeah, Little Cuba — and then stops.

The book is read in such compelling style by Lou Diamond Phillips. Wolfe’s writing is phenomenal, of course. He is a great writer. He writes in 3D. Literally. The story unfolds not just in one-dimensional telling of  a story but in a complex multiplicity of levels and no one brings that out better than Phillips.

The story is about sex. Not a lot of sex, but some sex. And it is about a Cuban police officer who is having troubles being accepted by the White police establishment. He’s caught between the rejection of both worlds, and that explodes when he finds himself trying to save a Cuban refugee fleeing Castro’s Cuba.

Ameriican law is that if you can make it to American soil, the US must grant you sanctuary. But, if you are caught before you step foot on American soil, then back to Cuba you must go. Saving a refugee from hanging from a refugee boat mast puts the refugee on a boat back to Cuba, and that upsets everyone from the Cuban community, to his family Hai Camillo Camacho is his father (what a great name) to his girlfriend who dumps him and ends up hooking up with her employer, a sex therapist and later with a Russia mobster involved in fake paintings that our hero, Nestor Comacho.

Wolfe does a great job exploring the world of Cuban refugees in Florida, the sex trade and the Russian mobsters, as well as racism that exists so graphically.

Yet, Wolfe let’s us down.

The book goes no where. There is no dramatic ending. It’s almost as if he got to a chapter and just stopped writing. So depressing, yet so much interesting facts weaved into the story about the Cuban community, Cuban culture and race. And he goes into anatomical detail when referring to sex, a noun commonly used — mons pubis.

Look it up folks. It’s that kind of detail, instead of just saying “va-gi-nah” that makes the book so fascinating in detail.

I enjoyed it right up until Wolfe retired writing it. Abruptly. Leaving me hanging. Leaving me wanting more. Come on, Tom. Write. Make an ending that climaxes like the descriptions on every page of the novel.



Categories: Books & Films

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