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Tom Wolfe skims the surfaces of 'Back to Blood'

Tom Wolfe skims the surfaces of 'Back to Blood'

Back to Blood
A Novel

Tom Wolfe
Little, Brown: 704 pp., $30

About a quarter of the way through Tom Wolfe's new novel, "Back to Blood," pornography addiction specialist Dr. Norman Lewis waits with his nurse (and mistress) Magdelena Otero to be interviewed by a "60 Minutes" crew. Norman is delirious at the prospect of his star turn — so much so that he becomes a bit, er, overstimulated.

"'Now — while they're at the door!' " he grunts at Magdalena, who responds, " 'No, Norman! Are you crazy? … There's no time!'"

For Wolfe, the scene offers an opportunity to push...