Tom Wolfe Disservices his Character Magdalena in Back to Blood


Back to Blood, Tom Wolfe

This is the fifth book I’ve read by Tom Wolfe. His journalistic style plus stories make for great page turners. Often his books explore class, wealth, and race—quite successfully. Back to Blood explored all those and more. I’m always a little weary when a white man writes about race and tend to read with breath held. I sometimes suspect that he is “stepping back and watching and reporting on those outside his world.” Sort of like the narrator on a nature program. The other three books of his that I read, The Bonfire of the Vanities, I am Charlotte Simmons, and A Man in Full all made sense and addressed people, dialect, and intentions with respect. In Back to Blood, most of it was good, almost all of it seemed quite well thought out and reasoned, but there was a character that just didn’t make sense to me. The lovely, intelligent, first generation Cuban American, Magdalena. She’s a nurse who ends up involved in the art world, specifically Art Basel of Miami.

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