The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

335 pages

English language

Published Nov. 24, 2007

ISBN:
9781594489587

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3 stars (1 review)

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a 2007 novel written by Dominican American author Junot Díaz. Although a work of fiction, the novel is set in New Jersey in the United States, where Díaz was raised, and it deals with the Dominican Republic's experience under dictator Rafael Trujillo. The book chronicles both the life of Oscar de León, an overweight Dominican boy growing up in Paterson, New Jersey, who is obsessed with science fiction and fantasy novels and with falling in love, as well as a curse that has plagued his family for generations. Narrated by multiple characters, the novel incorporates a significant amount of Spanglish and neologisms, as well as references to fantasy and science fiction books and films. Through its overarching theme of the fukú curse, it additionally contains elements of magic realism. It received highly positive reviews from critics, who praised Díaz's writing style and …

7 editions

Strong Narrative Voice

3 stars

I liked the use of a strong narrative voice in this book, and that the story is narrated through the eyes of one of the side characters. The world inhabited by the characters is dangerous and difficult and I really got a sense of it. I did find the language (racism, misogyny, fatphobia, etc) difficult to deal with. I didn't like the protagonist, Oscar, a young man with Incel/stalker tendencies, and I had a hard time empathizing with him. This isn't always necessary in order to enjoy a novel but, in this case, I thought my ambivalence toward him lessened the effect of the conclusion. Overall, I'm glad to have read this story. I may go through it at a later date and read through the footnotes which I left out as they slowed the pace of the story.