Carl Koenemann

Do you think this book was good enough to warrant the high accolades it went on to receive?

Gabriela Yes. Because Diaz has no difficulty from weaving a comprehensible story from two languages without making you want to check a dictionary. Because the story of Oscar's life is nothing without the background remembrance of Abelard, Beli, Lola wondrous' lives. Because you can't figure out from sentence 2 who narrates this book and this gives the book that je ne sais quoi that keep you going. Because there are far too many atrocities committed by dictators all over the world that we have no clue about and that we are bound to know and to prevent from happening. And also because it's not our duty to decide whether one author or the other deserve the awards they receive - what makes you feel like you're qualified to judge upon this?!
Petra To win something like a Pulitzer Prize you would think a book would have to be really special . I'm not a writer but I am well read and I know the difference between a good read and an amazing read. The Brief And Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao was a good read for some but for me I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it winning the pulitser!
Vivek I am on page 120 of the book, it started out pretty well, getting your attention rightly it had a different style to it. But now I think the writer got lost on the way he is just rambling about random people, stories into stories doesn't feel like story of our Hero Oscar ... I am at the point where I am skipping lines :(
Blind_guardian Most definitely not. Apparently the Pulitzer committee only chooses books that I'm going to hate for their much-lauded prize.
Jonathan No. This book should have a red warning note on the cover clearly stating that the reader needs to be bilingual in English and Spanish in order to understand and enjoy the story. Spanish is used prolifically, and the context practically never makes it clear what the Spanish words mean. An example: "In her twenties, sunny and amiable, whose cuerpo was all pipa and no culo, a 'mujer alegre' (in the parlance of the period)." HUH?! A few sentences later: "Muchacha, you wouldn't believe el lio en que me meti anoche." Countless sentences like this one caused me to abandon the book, and have caused me to abandon the writer as well.
R.P. Austin Not really. I stopped reading this book after page 120 or so. I liked the narrator's voice at first, his confidence and his unapologetic vulgarity, but there are a few sentences in this book that are just appalling. And it's not the narrator's fault, it's the author's lack of craftsmanship. The book has very good moments, but I felt let down. I couldn't take it seriously after the first few chapters.
Alejandro Certainly not.

This book, like This is How You Lose Her, is a minstrel show. It's blackface. And it's lame at it too. It just goes to show that you only need to get ball rolling. If enough sheeple buy into the hype, more sheeple will find it incredibly good too. Completely undeserved. Here is my review:
Mike Warble Yes, it is a book about immigrant experiences, and I hate to say it, but immigrants are having a tough time of it nowadays. Oscar De Leon spells out the racism of American culture, so don't bet on a film being made of this fantastic book. If you don't understand the "fuku", then you are reading above your knowledge base. Thankfully, the Pulitzer isn't the National Book Awards, which gives out first prizes for novels called "Redeployment." And please, spare me the armchair flag waving.
Talula no.
it was piffle to me, and i regret the time i wasted reading it.
Nina Yes. I think the fact that people are even asking this question is annoying. Great books come in many different forms and speak to people and issues in different ways. If this had been some esoteric, overly done narrative by a cannon author no one would even question it....
Samantha Not in my opinion. I hated it.
Jon Yacovetta Thank you, GoodReads, for asking for my unqualified opinion.


This book is many, many things: Fun, meaningful, a provider of perspectives for those without, informational...factual and fictional, funny, moving, culturally relevant, generationally (not a word) relevant,'s easy to read, complex...lots of stuff means stuff if you can access it (even if you can't, it's still a cool story)'s a Domincan flavored, lighting fast critique of PEOPLE and the long-lasting affects of exploiting peoples' flaws and abusing any power you may wield.

It reads like a Bukowski/Carver/Saunders something-or-other. They never won a Pewlitzer. And they're amaze.

Basically it's really good. Read it. Ignore the hype...and just read the damn book.
Mike Duran Absolutely! Great book. Deserving of the Pulitzer. There are good books and great books. This is a great book. There are books that do a decent job of telling a story and there are books, like this one, that weave and finesse and exemplify the art of the novel.
Andrew Yes.

You can read my review here. It goes over the effectiveness of the story, Diaz's prose, etc.:
Becky No, because though it was an excellent book, it was hard to follow because of the spanish and spanglish. I did enjoy it. It just wasn't up there with other Pulitzer winners.
Cecilie Jøhnk Yes, it's a work of genius. Like a comic with Orwell's 1984, Kafka's The Colony and a history book hidden behind Goofy's chuckle.
And the Bible, and Egyptian Mythology, too.
Mare Kinley I think, "Yes." Definitely "yes."

Here's why.

I came to this book from the opposite end. It had been recommended to me in the context of being a great YA book that many of my students could relate to. I wasn't aware until later that it was a Pulitzer winner. Therefore, my expectations were pretty low as it's been a very, very long time since I was a YA and I find it harder to tolerate the genre with each passing year.

It is NOT a YA novel. It's simply a novel which features a YA. I agree with almost everything Gabriela said except for her criticism of you for asking this question.

I disagree with those who fault the book for its narrative style. I happen to think it's brilliant. In the course of the novel, the reader is also given a non-fiction Dominican history lesson as well as a piece of historical fiction that all weave around and through the main plot and still manage to make a cohesive whole. Impressed the hell out of me.

As for the criticisms about the interspersion of Spanish, I admit that I really enjoyed the opportunity to see if my pretty weak Spanish was up to it. With assistance from context, it was, and I got to improve my street Spanish. So for me, it was a definite win. I can see, however, that, for those with no Spanish at all to fall back on, it could be distracting.

Just my two cents. Then again, I'm just a person who read a book. Same as anyone else who asked or answered.
Yoana Nope. I think it earned them by exploiting Americans' infantile fascination with "exotic" cultures and their weird, cruel, supernatural, anti-civilised ways which make them feel even better about themselves.
Judy Absolutely not. Only for bi-lingual readers and nerds (I'm one, but not this stuff) liking comics and sci-fi (I think -- didn't understand *any* of the unceasing allusions).
Ellen Absolutely not!!! Drivel in any language is still drivel.
Veeda Obviously, this is a subjective question. When it comes to awards, I always look at what else was in the running that year. My personal pick would have been A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I think does the intergenerational tragedy a little more cohesively, But hey, I'm not on the Pulitzer Prize committee so maybe I'm missing something.
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