Tom Wolfe writes with his finger on the pulse of America. Readers need no introduction to this man who has chronicled the nation, from the race to the moon all the way into the 21st century. His books are like the movies of Cecil B. DeMille, flamboyant and epic in their characters and sweep. BACK TO BLOOD, his latest novel, finds him examining Miami, Florida, where the denizens of the city struggle to co-exist in a community deeply divided along racial and ethnic lines. As Wolfe observes, Miami is a city where “everybody hates everybody.” On the pages of this book, Miami is a bubbling cauldron of diverse ethnic cultures seeking to co-exist without surrendering their individual cultures; it is a difficult, if not impossible, task.
"With BACK TO BLOOD, [Wolfe] has once again captured that certain spirit that mixes compelling characters, unique ethnicity and a modicum of craziness.... Welcome back, Tom! Thanks for another opportunity to appreciate the zaniness of America."
BACK TO BLOOD opens with officer Nestor Camacho of the Miami Marine Patrol racing his patrol boat through the waves of Biscayne Bay. Through Wolfe’s description, readers feel the force of the boat as it slams from wave to wave. Its movement is punctuated by a “SMACK,” capitalized for full effect. The reader seems to move up and down in the water as the patrol boat travels through the Bay. Officer Camacho, a Cuban-American and the novel’s central character, will climb the mast of a sailboat to rescue a Cuban refugee, but what he believes is an act of heroism will later create great difficulty for him. His own Cuban community, rather than taking pride in Camacho’s bravery, is angered because the refugee will be returned to Cuba. Transferred from the water patrol, Camacho soon finds himself in more difficulty. He is accused of the use of excessive force in making an arrest. Wolfe uses the Cuban officer’s escapades to highlight one of the n