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Why’d Tom Wolfe Flip to Little, Brown?

tom-wolfe-headshot.jpgNo big mystery here: Tom Wolfe undoubtedly placed his next novel, Back to Blood, with Little, Brown because that’s where Pat Strachan, who edited several of his books at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, has been since the fall of 2002. (And, undoubtedly, they threw lots of money at him, too; in fact, FSG’s Jonathan Galassi insists money’s the only reason.) In its press release, the publisher says “the novel will consider class, family, wealth, race, crime, sex, corruption, and ambition in Miami, the city where America’s future has arrived first.” (One assumes that this isn’t going to be the same arrived-future that William Gibson has written about in Spook Country and Pattern Recognition.) I have to admit I like the release’s tacit admission that hardly anybody reads Wolfe for the plot, as the selling point is assumed to be the diverse character portfolio: “a young nurse of Cuban ancestry married to a famous French-émigré sex doctor, a freshman journalist on the trail of a Russian-mob-comes-to-Miami story, his wary editor, a second-generation Cuban police officer, a woman of Haitian background who passes for Anglo, and dozens more.”

One thing’s for sure: “Everyone at Little, Brown is exhilarated to be working with Tom Wolfe to bring his new novel to readers in the Internet age,” says publisher Michael Pietsch (who, full disclosure, also published my book a few years back). How excited? Just in case you missed the point, the release also quotes Hachette Book Group CEO David Young: “I am thrilled to bring the many assets of the Hachette Book Group, publishers of great literary fiction and of enormous bestsellers, to bear in helping Tom Wolfe find the biggest readership of his already extraordinary career.” So if you thought the media blitz for I Am Charlotte Simmons was something, wait until next year…

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