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Another Christmas gift from my generous family. Christmas 2013, unfortunately; it got stuck in my to-be-read pile. Doesn't matter, Tom Wolfe is timeless. It's fun to read an author who bumps up so severely against typography, pushing the envelope of 26 letters, a handful of punctuation symbols (for example, five colons are used to delimit a :::::character's inner thoughts::::), italics and (at one spot) superscripts and subscripts.

The one-line description: Mr. Wolfe does explores Miami, similar to his exploration of New York City in The Bonfire of the Vanities nearly 30 years ago. It's a pretty good fit: he doesn't bow to political correctness one bit in exploring the racial/ethnic/cultural stew down there. There are WASPs, Cubans, African-Americans, Haitians, Russians, etc. Variously involved in newspaper publishing, art forgery, law enforcement, politics, higher education, charity work, drug dealing, …

Our protagonist is Nestor Camacho, a likeable gung-ho cop. He has the unfortunate habit of exhibiting heroism and skill that only comes back to bite him in the ass. For example, in an early chapter, he rescues a Cuban refugee from a precarious perch at the top of a sailboat mast; unfortunately, the refugee didn't technically set foot on land before Nestor grabs him, so due to the US "wet foot/dry foot" policy, this makes him eligible for deportation back to Cuba. This makes Nestor a contemptible traitor to his Cuban-American community. Even his lovely girlfriend, Magdalena, decides it's time to See Other People. (But it turns out she's already seeing other people, specifically her boss, a shrink dedicated to relieving weathy porn addicts of their money.)

It's long, north of 700 pages, but an easy read. Full of sly insights, as when Nestor is exposed to the community of art aficionados:

These people treated art like a religion. The difference was that you could get away with joking about religion…

In short, fun stuff. Mr. Wolfe is 84 (as I type), so I don't know how many more books he's got in him, but I'll keep reading as long as he keeps writing.