Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz

Maybe it was the footnotes describing the Dominican Republic's tumultuous history. Maybe it was the ghetto English/Spanish slang of the narration. Maybe it was the pop culture references. Maybe it was just a certain je ne c'est quoi. I really enjoyed this novel.

The center of the story is Oscar, an overweight, terrifically nerdy, entirely desperate, Dominican living in New Jersey. The story however spans several generations and traces the evolution of the fuku, the family curse. Diaz intertwines Dominican history with the part tragic part triumphant stories of various family members and accentuates it all with Spanish slang (I soldiered on without the aid of a dictionary and thought I gathered most of the gist). Homeboy deserved his Pulitzer for realz.

4 out of 5

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