Qiana's Reviews > The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
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's review
Jun 13, 08

bookshelves: comics, metafiction
Read in June, 2008

Any novel that can toss around casual references to comic books like Watchmen and the Fantastic Four is going to attract my attention. The book is enjoyable; I liked the title character, although Diaz's style seems to keep Oscar at a frustrating distance. I thought the language and narrative structure was inventive, posing the kind of time-bending challenges that postmodern readers love.

But I can't help but think about Everett's Erasure when I read Diaz's book. There were moments when I was troubled that my lack of understanding regarding cultural norms and attitudes in the Dominican Republic would lead me to be less critical about the story's constant images of misogyny, hypermasculinity, and violence, or overlook the author's larger message about how we should view Oscar's family and experience in American vs the DR. Is the Brief Wonderous life, praised by some for its "magic realism" and others for its "verisimilitude," really just another version of Everett's racial parody and media spectacle, "My Pafology"?
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Wilhelmina Jenkins I'm reading this one right now, Qiana. This was a selection in May in the Constant Reader group. The wait list at my library was so long that I just got the book a few days ago - a little late for the discussion! One of the participants in the discussion was Dominican and you might enjoy her comments. The discussion is still available if you click on the book and go to "Constant Reader" under "Discuss This Book."

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