Junot Diaz – The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Well you may not have heard of this book DESPITE the fact it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008, I certainly hadn’t but then I do live in Spain, but thanks to my friend Liz (whose book choices are normally spot on) I have a copy.

It sat on my bookshelf for at least a year (and then in a box in a garage, because I move far too often) but now I have finally read  it and it is GREAT!

Plot – Oscar Wao is a fat boy (don’t be fooled by the front cover of not very fat boy trying to look fat) whose family are living in America but are originally from the Dominican Republic.  The story is told by different characters and deals with the families history and their ‘fuku’ or  curse ( which believe me is pretty bad).  What I really enjoyed were the interesting background details in funny footnote form of the horrific history of the DR in the last century.  Did you know about El Trujillo and his horrific massacre of Haitians and his taste for raping any young girls he fancied?  Well I didnt, hope I am not alone here.

This makes the story sound depressing but actually it is funny and great if you are learning Spanish as lots of funny phrases you can use in your day to day life.  Examples to follow……

Oscar is one of those people who just keeps messing up his own life and as title suggests, is rather tragic.  Main frustrating point – when Yunior is trying to get him to do some exercise and run and he gives up, I felt so frustrated that I would have killed him myself.

So get out there and read this and educate yourself at the same time.  The DR is now off my hol list, think I applied for a job there once!



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2 responses to “Junot Diaz – The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

  1. “Oscar Wao is an unlikely hero, and Díaz’s Pulitzer-winning debut novel an improbable triumph.” James Smart, The Guardian

  2. “With this startling, breathless, sweetly harsh debut novel, Junot Díaz, a justifiable Pulitzer Prize winner, has managed to portray both the particularity of the inner life of a Dominican teenage boy in contemporary New Jersey, as well as draw universal conclusions about men and women, race and class.” Lesley McDowell, The Independent

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