4 stars · fiction

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

author : junot diaz

pages : [hardcover] 335

favorite characters : oscar & lola

summary :

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 ghetto nerd, a Bew Jersey romantic who 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 fukú — the ancient 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 dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim – until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.

With dazzling energy and insight, Junot Díaz immerses us in the uproarious lives of our hero Oscar, his runaway sister Lola, and their ferocious beauty-queen mother Belicia, and in the epic journey from Santo Domingo to Washinton Heights to New Jersey’s Bergenline and back again. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents an astonishing vision of the comtemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere – and to risk it all – in the of love.

A true literary triumph, this novel confirms Junot Díaz as one of the best and most exciting writers of our time.

review :

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is both a wonderful title and completely captivating book! I needed to read this for school and did not even know what to expect, though found to my surprise that I really, really enjoyed it. Diaz writes in a completely conversational tone, even as he is giving a harsh political commentary and educating the reader on dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. I loved learning more about something I know so little about, a culture I really don’t know anything about, and in such a great writing style.

Oscar Wao is a book filled with many characters both in the past and present of the novel, all equally as important. Some are only brought in temporarily to demonstrate the horrible results of this dictator Trujillo that ruined Oscar’s life, indirectly, by bringing a curse down upon his family. Or so the narrator writes.

I really loved this book, enough to make me very interested in looking out for more of Diaz’s work. It was a wonderfully written novel, filled with interesting characters and a funny, tragic, action-filled plot that has some in it that would grab any reader and teach them something, too, inadvertently or not. I don’t know that I would have even thought about looking into the history of the Dominican Republic if I hadn’t picked up this novel. I’d recommend it to just about anyone.

4/5 stars


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