Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tom Wolfe's Next Novel: "Back To Blood"

The title of Tom Wolfe's next novel has been released. Entitled "Back To Blood," it will be the author's first work of fiction since 2004's "I am Charlotte Simmons". The novel will be set in Miami and explore notions of race, class, corruption and ambitionthemes which recur in the author's work, most notably 1987's "Bonfire of the Vanities" and 1998's "A Man in Full". It will also deal with the hot-button issue of immigration. A statement by the author on this subject is quoted in the New York Times: "Two years ago when I got the idea of doing a book on immigration, people would say, ‘Oh, that’s fascinating,’ and then they would go to sleep standing up like a horse. Since then the subject has become a little more exciting, and in Miami it’s not only exciting, it’s red hot." According to the AP, characters include "a Cuban nurse married to a French sex doctor, a Haitian woman 'who passes for Anglo' and 'a freshman journalist on the trail of a Russian-mob-comes-to-Miami story'."

Wolfe is an American author and journalist who contributed to the rise of the phenomenon called "New Journalism" in the 1960s and '70s
an example of his work in this vein is the chronicle of 1960s counter-culture and the rise of LSD in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" (1968). Wolfe seeks to document contemporary society in his novels, which are a product of extensive sociological and anthropological research into social, political and cultural trends. He is also known for his signature "Southern Gentleman"-style white suits, which tend to lend him a vaguely dandyish air. Last summer, in Time Magazine, Wolfe spoke on the subject of his sartorial choices: "It has done me so much good. Not long after I published my first book, I quickly found I was terrible at being interviewed. But then I'd read the piece and it would say, 'What an interesting man; he wears white suits.' And so it was a good 10 years where the suits were a substitute for a personality."

"Back To Blood" will be released by Little, Brown, rather than Wolfe's long-time publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Reports reveal that compensation was the deciding factor in the move to a different publisher. The book is slated to be published sometime in 2009; since we're already almost three months in, I'm wondering when that's going to be. Either way, I'm looking forward to it.

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