American author and journalist Tom Wolfe has spent the better part of six years with his notebook in hand, diving into Miami literally.
At the annual Columbus Day regatta celebration off Elliot Key a few years ago, Wolfe, while standing on a boat, was soaked head to toe after a drunk pirate cannonballed into the water. Its unclear if Wolfe was wearing his trademark white suit, but the incident is one of his new books longest chapters.
Back to Blood, a novel to be released by Little, Brown on Oct. 23, is said to focus on race relations in Miami. Accompanying the books release is a documentary, the first to accompany a major new novel. Former Miami Herald journalist Oscar Corral is behind the independent, one-hour effort called Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood.
Tom Wolfe translated what he saw in the real world into literature, Corral said. Anyone who is interested in how great fiction and literature come to life will be drawn to this film.
Corral initially interviewed Wolfe as a source in 2003 for a story on then-Miami Police Chief John Timoney. Four years later, Corral learned Wolfe was writing a Miami-centric novel and sent him a hand-written letter offering guidance. A week later, Wolfe called Corral for a get-together in Miami. After serving as a translator for a few visits, Corral started working on the film about the creation of the book.
His creative juices never stopped flowing, Corral said of the famed author, whose works include The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
It took Corral and his wife, Cecile Betancourt Corral, four years to co-produce and co-write the documentary, which premieres at Miamis OCinema on Tuesday.
WPBT 2, South Floridas PBS affiliate, will air the documentary starting Oct. 19. Digital and DVD versions will also be available through Amazon.com, BigStar.tv and Cardinal Publishers Group.
Wolfe is set to kick off this years Miami Book Fair International at 6 p.m. Nov. 11 with An Evening With Tom Wolfe. Wolfes chat will be followed by an 8 p.m. screening of Corrals documentary.
So how does Miami fare in Wolfes new book?
I think Miami hits a new cultural milestone with this novel whether you like it or not, Corral said.