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

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
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it was amazing

This is a glorious, hilarious, heartwrenching, and sometimes even terrifying novel, and Diaz's exuberant prose, packed with Spanish and nerd-cult jargon and lines like "the sexy isthmus of her waist," thrilled me again and again. I love the risky point of view here: the great authorial omniscience of a narrator who is simply a guy who knew Oscar and his family, these sections interspersed a couple of times with Oscar's sister's voice. I loved the ranting footnotes, the unflinching accounts of Trujillo's cruelties, and the book's focus on the corporeal--titties everywhere, and Oscar's fatness never forgotten.
What a novel!
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Reading Progress

August 23, 2007 – Shelved
Started Reading
September 1, 2007 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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message 1: by Edan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edan Holy fuck what an amazing first 50 pages! Please read this with me, Robert, so we can talk about it.


message 2: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   very tired and well into a bottle of pinot grigio so excuse my mangled thoughts/syntax...

well, i picked up Oscar Wao last night and just hit page 200. iprobably the fastest read of my life. that's no backhanded compliment: the book's witty, original, and fiercely intelligent. i miss all the crazyass dominicans and puerto ricans back in new york and diaz captures their language and spirit perfectly - or at least how i perceived them. book's also about trujillo, which i dig. beyond my fascination for dictators in general, trujillo is a personal favorite/most hated. (check out vargas llosa's masterpiece Feast of the Goat for a harrowing account of trujillo's reign of torture and terror.) as far as i can say by page 200, he's written one hell of a good read. will report back when i'm done.


message 3: by Edan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edan Brian, if you're reading the book, too, I must hurry up to keep up with you!
Robert, I haven't received my CutBank copies yet. How does it look?


message 4: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   well, get to it girlie. it's 10:13 and i just hit page 260. the last 40 pages just blew me away. devestating. tragic. seriously.

you have a story in a journal? lemme get a copy.


message 5: by Edan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edan Brian, you're nuts--reading and goodreading at the same time. I just bathed my dog and now I have to do some grading. Give a girl a break.

I have a story in the journal out of the University of Montana, called CutBank. Ask Robert: it's not my best.
You can order a copy online; I haven't even received my free one yet!

Thanks for the love, Robert.


message 6: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   i'm gonna order a copy.

finished Oscar Wao. we'll discuss when you've finished.


message 7: by Edan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edan Your reading speed puts mine to shame. I'm at about page 100, so give me a few days. I'd love to discuss when I'm done.

Did you read my story in the LA Times?
Here's the link:
http://www.latimes.com/features/print...


message 8: by Edan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edan You are insufferable. I'm placing my bets now that the Pulitzer will come down to Junot Diaz and Denis Johnson. So you will have to own and read both!


message 9: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   the pulitzer will go to johnson. he's written a big fat viet nam book, he's been banging away at this for a long time, and definitely fits more into their idea of what a pulitzer winner is than diaz. Oscar Wao is too specific, too informal, too dominican, and too brash. but i find it hard to believe that you guys need to own and read both b/c of that. shit, homeboys/girls, how many times have you thought that those fools actually got it right?


message 10: by Edan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edan Hold on now...because these might win the Pulitzer is not the reason why I'd read either, but it would be badass to read both books before they were announced as the winner or near-winner. It would feel pretty good, to have that kind of foresight, I think.
I do like the phrase, "flying fig," Manny.


message 11: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   of course it's very easy to take the position 'who gives a fuck about xx award' -- oscars, pulitzers, etc... it's the easy road to 'authenticity'... in a way awards exist to legitimize art. if one can rail about an award or award show, it indirectly proves that there are other worthwhile works. ergo: the medium can produce 'art'. y'know? i wasn't saying that you're just interested in it b/c it's a potential prize winner... that'd just be rude and untrue. i was literally saying that you would own/read them whether or not they would be nominated. so fuck those fools... y'know? mucho amore...


message 12: by Edan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edan Agreed! I had a dream I was in your house, looking at your Morrissey tapes.


message 13: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   ah... a dream about morrissey. sigh. is there anything better?

i go to tijuana to see him play on thursday. seriously.


message 14: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   woah. relax big boy... i actually hadn't even read your comment when i wrote mine. apparently you hadn't read mine either. what i wrote was an addition to MY original comment regarding the pulitzer. not yours.

so... what're you gonna do about all that hostility anyway? and the paranoia?

i think you really need to get to a yoga class with me. ASAP!


message 15: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   no contradiction. while i would yell at someone for wanting to read something simply b/c it won a prize, i could also point out that the existence of these awards actually serves a hidden purpose: in railing against them exists the indirect notion that there is something worth railing against, something worthwhile to defend. all the award shows/prizes etc. actually bolsters belief in the medium. everytime someone scoffs at the oscars "ron howard wins best director and orson welles never did?!?!" it, in a very subtle way, reinforces belief in the artistry of movies. kapiche, ya' bum?

what days can you go to yoga?

andy's outta commission as he's writing his ass off for this deadline. when he's done we will par-tay.


message 16: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   i must attribute the welles/howard comparison to one of two things:

1) the 24 yr old's desire to scream 'fuck you' to the system by tearing down that which is (deservedly) sacred and excusing that which is utter crap,-

or, quite simpy:

2) bad taste.

p.s. Ransom is a half-hearted limp-cocked remake of High and Low. remember that one? the movie i lent to you after you complained that 'all asian movies suck'. watch it, dick. educate yourself.

p.s.s. If gibson had screamed "gimme back my son, jew!", then, and only then, would the movie be worthwhile.


message 17: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

brian   not that it's needed, but i vouch for kit. a lovely girl. smart and lovely.

i actually, hadn't read diaz prior to Oscar Wao but am sufficiently wowed (horrible pun, yeah, sorry) so as to take your advice and check out the podcast. and Drown. anyone in this thread read Drown? like it? what most impresses me about diaz is that i usually don't go for the laid back informal style of writing. i'm old school - all about long rolling tangled dense sentences full of commas and colons etc a la melville... but goddammit if diaz doesn't pack a hell of a punch from the POV of the shady guy on the corner of 125th and b'way... yeah?


message 18: by Edan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Edan Hi, Kit! I've read and enjoyed a few of Diaz's stories (please forgive me for rating it on my list without having read the entire book...I've been found out!), and I'll definitely check out the podcast--though I've never actually listened to a podcast, so I'm a little intimidated.


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