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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Murderous Mermaids? Sure, because I trust Mira Grant aka Seanan McGuire

 

 

 

I don’t care for mermaids. Nor have I ever been interested in zombies. I have never wanted to read about diseases and outbreaks. And yet, I’m obsessed with Mira Grant. I am slowly working my way through everything she’s written. And she’s quite prolific. I never ever would have picked up her books if a friend hadn’t recommended her to me. The reason being I don’t really read scary books—I don’t like having nightmares. But her books are not horror at all. They probe what could happen if. . . . And sometimes what happens are dangerous situations that the average person is not prepared to handle. I know I most certainly am not. But after reading her books, maybe I would make it along a little farther in the story than the first person to die.

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Mira Grant is thoughtful, even when she’s killing her best characters in Feedback, a Newflesh novel

Mira Grant, Seanan McGuire, Newsflesh, Feedback

Mira Grant is a thoughtful writer. Correction, well-established, respected Seanan McGuire is a thoughtful, caring writer. So thoughtful that she created a pseudonym when she started writing a new book series—because it was drastically different from what she had already written—she didn’t want to alienate her fans, confusing fairy-loving (magical creatures) readers who picked up her gory, bloody, virus-laden zombie books.

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T2 Trainspotting—Living With but Not in Your Past

Trainspotting, Porno, Irvine Welsh, Renton, Begbie, Spud, Sickboy

T2 Trainspotting, based on the novel of the same name and the sequel, Glue, was released last week. I was so obscenely excited that I started to question why. Have I truly not grown since I saw the first movie? What does this say about me that I’ve become so invested in some characters from my past?

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Paul Beatty’s Reluctant Hero in The Sellout—Reinstitutes Segregation and Accidentally Acquires a Slave To Save his Hometown

The Sellout, Paul Beatty

 

Paul Beatty’s brilliant satire, The Sellout is about a present-day man who accidentally acquires a slave and loves his former town so much that he physically redefines its town lines and reinstitutes segregation. I bought the book because it sounded like a thought-provoking and challenging satire, one of the cover blurbs, called it “Swiftian satire of the highest order.” I assumed I would appreciate the humor and the authorial voice, but detest the protagonist. But Beatty created an incredibly likable character, one that truly means well but can’t help when strange things happen to him (like having a suicidal man he saved pledge his life as a slave to him). He ends up in the Supreme Court as a result of his trying to improve his community. Continue reading →