In 2007 a handwritten letter arrived at Tom Wolfe's Manhattan apartment. It was from a 33-year-old Miami Herald journalist named Oscar Corral. The young reporter was offering to be a guide in Miami, the setting for Wolfe's new novel, Back to Blood, out next month. Wolfe accepted the offer.
On their first day together Corral drove Wolfe round. They got on. Wolfe had dinner at Corral's house. On the next trip they visited a strip club (the manager recognised the white-suited Wolfe and gave them a VIP table). Wolfe drank Heineken, talked to dancers (he declined a lap-dance) and made notes in the car. Corral asked if he could start filming their days out. Wolfe said yes.
The result is a documentary named Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood (due out next month), which has just premiered in America. There are personal revelations – this was the first book he wrote by hand – but the focus is his reporting, with the overall message from Wolfe: “Every kind of writer should get away from the desk, for God's sake.”
Tom Wolfe's 'Back to Blood' is published on 29 November