The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: Summary and book reviews of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, plus links to an excerpt from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and a biography of Junot Diaz.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao A Novel
by Junot Diaz
Hardcover: Sep 2007,
Paperback: Sep 2008,
This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today.
Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuk-the curse that has haunted the Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.
Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms Junot Diaz as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.
As we flip back and forth, character to character, narrator to narrator, Diaz's prose-dance continues to dazzle as the story takes on greater weight as the history piles on – but it's not just dazzling for the sake of the dazzle. He loves the performance, but not for the applause. He loves doing it, loves the writing, loves the rush and the game, and most of all the promise, the hope, the bet, that you, the reader, will fall in love, too. (Reviewed by Lucia Silva).
Newsweek - David Gates
Now that D’az's second book, a novel called The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, has finally arrived, younger writers will find that the bar. And some older writers - we know who we are - might want to think about stepping up their game. Oscar Wao shows a novelist engaged with the culture, high and low, and its polyglot language
Astoundingly great.... You could call The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao the saga of an immigrant family, but that wouldn't really be fair. It's an immigrant-family saga for people who don't read immigrant-family sagas.
Terrific... Narrated in high-energy Spanglish, the book is packed with wide-ranging cultural references - to Dune, Julia Alvarez, The Sound of Music - as well as erudite and hilarious footnotes on Caribbean history. It is a joy to read, and every bit as exhilarating to reread.
Despite a less sure-footed conclusion, Diaz's reverse family saga, crossed with withering political satire, makes for a compelling, sex-fueled, 21st-century tragi-comedy with a magical twist.
Publishers Weekly (Signature Reviewed by Matthew Sharpe)
The later Oscar chapters lack the linguistic brio of the others, and there are exposition-clogged passages that read like summaries of a longer narrative, but mostly this fierce, funny, tragic book is just what a reader would have hoped for in a novel by Junot Diaz.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Starred Review. Propelled by compassion, Díaz's novel is intrepid and radiant.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by miki good except.... This is a very good book but I could not enjoy it at all. there was way too much cursing and I understand that it is a part of the"book's emotion" but if cursing every page is a problem as it is for me than its not possible to enjoy. Also... Read More
Rated of 5
by Ali_BL Fantastic novel, not too happy about how dominican men are portrayed This book is well written, smart, funny and unpretentious, and it has one of the few endings that have made me cry, ever. Unlike other books where you are built up and feel disappointed about the lack or originality in which the story unfolds, this... Read More
Rated of 5
by Kim Deserving of the hype. What an odd book! It’s without doubt one of the most unusual novels I’ve ever read. I think I did like it, more or less, and I recommend reading it. It’s so different, though, that it left me unsure for awhile as to how I felt about it. I’m... Read More
Rated of 5
by J. Arnold Provocative voices and enthralling history Diaz's first novel, after his short story collection Drown, is an exciting entry in the growing list of Caribbean literature. Diaz tells the story of the unlucky - in so many ways - Oscar de Leon through multiple voices, detailing the fuku that... Read More
As much the tale of a teenage
misfit as it is the story of the
Dominican Diaspora in the United
States, The Brief and
Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
is filled with references to the
Dominican Republic, and in
particular to the ruler whose
profile defined the country in
the twentieth century - Rafael
Leonidas Trujillo, the "Dictatingest
Dictator who ever Dictated".
A Short History of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic occupies two-thirds of the
island of Hispaniola, which it
shares with Haiti (map).
Claimed by Christopher Columbus
in 1492, Hispaniola became a
springboard for Spanish conquest
of the Caribbean and the
American mainland. In 1697,
Spain recognized French dominion
over the western third of the...
Whimsical, wise, beautiful, magical, and sometimes even heartbreaking, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True weaves together two remarkable stories, reimagining half a century of Polish history through the legacy of one unforgettable love affair.
A fiendishly imaginative comic novel about doubt, faith, and the monsters we carry within us.
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