N W James's Reviews > The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
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Sep 19, 14

Read in November, 2007

I was iffy at first: every other phrase en espanol, tangent upon tangent, slicker-than-thou vocabulary. Ultimately, Junot Diaz won me over. Turns out I can understand tone behind spanish phrases and get the jist. Turns out I don't hate the writings of Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace exclusively for their ridiculous tangents (I can't believe I just admitted that, now I have to go sit on the couch and think about what Diaz does that Eggers and Wallace didn't do to capture my interest). Turns out "slicker-than-thou" can fit with a character/story line and not just be a condescending way for authors to prove that they're intellectuals.

You got Oscar Wao, a Dominican sci-fi misfit, who is indirectly central to this story due to his family's curse. You have his mother, Beli, who is fierce in present day but eventually Diaz guides you down some roads to explain the cocoon Beli needs to survive her life. And you have The Trujillo, who is actually the central figure in the story, even though his feelings and actions are never really discussed in the novel. Trujillo (I'm still not sure if he's a real person or not) was a Dominican Republic dictator in the 50's and 60's, according to the book. His henchmen and family's actions cause the modern day trials of Oscar and his socially inept and doomed attempt to gain a woman's love.

Loved this book. Go read it. I can't remember a sadder story told in a more amiable way. And you will fall in love with Oscar.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Jill I read a great review in Entertainment Weekly for this. It sounds amazingly odd.


message 2: by N W (new) - rated it 4 stars

N W James yeah, Jill, I saw the same article. I like the odd stuff, hence my circus story bookshelf, my favorite story being Geek Love. If you haven't read it yet, give it two chapters and if you're not hooked and totally blown away then I'll eat your book.


Jill i've seen "Geek Love" about the store and really like the cover...I am going to give it a try one of these days (if only to have you eat it...)


message 4: by Pam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pam I totally get what you mean about understanding the meaning behind the Spanish without knowing what is being said. I listened to this and felt the same way.


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