Weekend Reading: Tom Wolfe Comes Up Short

ImageWe’ve been a fervent admirer of Tom Wolfe since years before we met him in our role as a member of the working press when we got in a few questions during the cocktail hour at the Niehoff Lecture in the long ago days when the Lectures were in the Library except in the case of Wolfe (Tom, not Nero) who was such a catch that drinks were in the ML but everybody had to move across the street where there was enough room for the big crowd for dinner.  We had read Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby when it came out and we were agog and starstruck and all, but Mr. Wolfe, possibly because he had reported plenty himself, set us at ease.  We’ve read everything of his ever since, enjoying it all hugely, but there’s something amiss with Back To Blood, Wolfe’s latest, around to which we just got this weekend.  What’s amiss is about half the book.  It’s his Wolfe job on Miami, and it’s minus a couple of limbs and a brain lobe.  What happened?  Did he just get tired in the middle and abandon the job?  Did Little Brown go out of the Big Book Business?  No kidding.  There’s all the Wolfe stuff – big cast – multiple plots – hilarious takes on puffed up plutocrats all racing along with not too much punctuation to get in the way and then halfway through it just stops.

-Nemo Wolfe

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