The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao go inside Ebook How this book won the Pulitzer Prize AND the National Book Critics Circle is beyond me It s terrible Here s the review I wrote when it cam

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao go inside Ebook How this book won the Pulitzer Prize AND the National Book Critics Circle is beyond me. It's terrible. Here's the review I wrote when it came out. I stand by this completely. If someone says they read this and liked it, punch them in the throat. (I'm kidding, naturally.)Review of Junot Diaz’s first novel, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” published Oct. 7, 2007 Imagine, if you will, that seven years after publishing "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," Ernest Hemingway decided to expand his well-known short story into a 350-page novel. Imagine if, before Macomber is "accidentally" shot by his wife on that safari, Hemingway decided to pad the narrative with a couple hundred pages about Macomber's mother, sister, and grandfather -- tangents that only serve to betray the proper focus of the story, its title, and the reader's trust.That, in short, is what Junot Diaz has done with "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (Riverhead Books, $24.95) -- a short story he wrote for the New Yorker in 2000, and which, in novel form, devotes more pages to the title character's extended family (and it's so-called curse or fuku) than it does to the fat, girl-challenged nerdy writer who loves “The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and aspires to be the Dominican Tolkien. Diaz, now 38, burst on the literary scene in 1996 with his well-received collection of short stories, "Drown," which critics and readers both loved. I've been meaning to read it for some time, and when I learned he was coming out with a novel, I figured the timing was perfect: I'd sample his lone collection of short stories, get a flavor for his style, and then progress to the novel. Unfortunately, the library's sole copy has been checked out for weeks, so I didn't get to read "Drown" before experiencing "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," which happens to be one of the most erratic, ill-conceived and annoying books I've ever encountered.The book begins with short-lived promise. We meet dorky Oscar as a high school sophomore living in Paterson, N.J., with his mother, Belicia; his sister, Lola; and his heroin-addicted uncle, who plays a minor, insignificant role. The mother had been born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, but immigrated to the United States in the early 1960s. The kids' father, whom she met on the plane to the states, took off a long time ago, and the story of his flight from domesticity is about the only case of love-gone-bad that isn't described in excruciating detail in this book.Crazy love is the family's curse or fuku, which is the superstitious element of magical realism that threads through the novel."No matter what its name or provenance, it is believed that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed the fuku on the world, and we've all been in the (bleep) ever since," says the sometime narrator, Yunior, the onetime boyfriend of Oscar's sister, whose name and identity won't be revealed until halfway through the book, and for no other reason than Diaz wants to torture his readers. (That's the only reason I could glean, anyway.)So, Oscar's personal fuku is that he loves girls, but they don't love him. And basically, they don't love him because he doesn't look like Enrique Iglesias. To hear Diaz tell it, Oscar's the only Dominican who doesn't."Had none of the Higher Powers of your typical Dominican male, couldn't have pulled a girl if his life depended on it. Couldn't play sports for (bleep), dominoes, was beyond uncoordinated, threw a ball like a girl. Had no knack for music or business or dance, no hustle, no rap, no G. And most damning of all: no looks. He wore his semi-kink hair in a Puerto Rican afro, rocked enormous Section 8 glasses…sported an unappealing trace of mustache on his upper lip and possessed a pair of close-set eyes that made him look somewhat retarded."Yunior goes on, "Perhaps if he'd been like me he'd been able to hide his otakuness maybe (bleep) would have been easier for him, but he couldn't. Dude wore his nerdiness like a Jedi wore his light saber or a Lensman her lens. Couldn't have passed for Normal if he'd wanted to."At this point, we don't who the narrator is or what his relationship to Oscar might be. Truthfully, wanting to know does help drag the reader through the novel. But learning the identity isn't ultimately rewarding; it's annoying.Early on, the forward momentum of the novel stalls and the narrative flashes back in time and focuses on Lola, the sister, and how she ran away from home in the 1990s; and then to the mother, Belicia, and how she was a star-crossed lover herself in the Dominican Republic. The mother's section of the book lasts 90 pages and covers the years 1955-1962. A wise reader would have quit the 335-page book at this point, because "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" had morphed into "The Bloated Family Background of Oscar Wao." But I read on, waiting for it to get better. Unfortunately, it never did, and the reasons seem clear.Not only is the narrative timeline all over the place, but important information -- be it dialogue or exposition -- is often relayed in Spanish. Now, I took two semesters of the language in college and yet I had no idea what characters were saying in many parts, because context didn't lend hints. If Diaz is aiming this book towards a bilingual audience, then so be it. But how difficult would it have been to translate the Spanish in footnotes? The book is already rife with footnotes anyway, which mainly serve to explain the history of the brutal dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Throw a gringo a bone.In describing how Belicia, Oscar's mother, had developed a brash attitude as a teenager (while living in the Dominican Republic with her adoptive mother, La Inca), Diaz writes, "Those of you who have stood at the corner of 142nd and Broadway can guess what it was she spoke: the blunt, irreverent cant of the pueblo that gives all dominicanos cultos nightmares on their 400-thread-count sheets and that La Inca had assumed perished along with Beli's first life in Outer Azua, but here it was so alive, it was like it had never left: Oye, pariguayo, y que paso con esa esposa tuya? Gordo, no me digas que tu todavia tienes hambre."Uh, no comprende, amigo?A lack of Spanish skills won't be the only thing that keeps you from enjoying this book. Beyond its organizational problems, the literary devices in play -- the magical realism, the comic book references, and the fat, supposedly lovable title character -- make the book feel derivative of Jorge Luis Borges, Michael Chabon ("The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay"), and "A Confederacy of Dunces."Towards the end of the novel, Yunior, the narrator, is describing Oscar's last great love, a semi-retired prostitute named Ybon. He says, "I know I've thrown a lot of fantasy and sci-fi in the mix but this is supposed to be a true account of the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Can't we believe that an Ybon can exist and that a brother like Oscar might be due a little luck after twenty-three years?"This is your chance. If blue pill, continue. If red pill, return to the Matrix."Too bad that offer came so late - on page 285. Do yourself a favor and take the red pill now. Return to the Matrix and don't read this book.. This is an alternate cover edition for 9781594483295 Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R Tolkien and, most of all, finding love But Oscar may never get what he wants Blame the fuk a curse that has haunted Oscar s family forThis is an alternate cover edition for 9781594483295 Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R Tolkien and, most of all, finding love But Oscar may never get what he wants Blame the fuk a curse that has haunted Oscar s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA Encapsulating Dominican American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere and risk it all in the name of love.. The best Kindle The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao I want to know all about your family, your childhood, your grandparents, their childhood, etc, etc, I want to know where you lived, what food you ate, what games you played or didn't play. I want to know why this is important to you or that is not. Which is why I LOVED this book! Junot Diaz takes 300+ pages to tell a story about a boy that wants to be kissed and the kiss MATTERS because we know his family, we know his friends, we know their superstitions and their pains, and their loses and their survivals and by the time we get to page 339 we know why the kiss is so important.Oscar goes on the short list of book characters that will stay with me forever.

About Author

  1. Junot D az was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist He is the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, PEN Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN O Henry Award A graduate of Rutgers College, D az is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Comment

  1. How this book won the Pulitzer Prize AND the National Book Critics Circle is beyond me It s terrible Here s the review I wrote when it came out I stand by this completely If someone says they read this and liked it, punch them in the throat I m kidding, naturally Review of Junot Diaz s first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, published Oct 7, 2007 Imagine, if you will, that seven years after publishing The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, Ernest Hemingway decided to expand his wel [...]


  2. I want to know all about your family, your childhood, your grandparents, their childhood, etc, etc, I want to know where you lived, what food you ate, what games you played or didn t play I want to know why this is important to you or that is not Which is why I LOVED this book Junot Diaz takes 300 pages to tell a story about a boy that wants to be kissed and the kiss MATTERS because we know his family, we know his friends, we know their superstitions and their pains, and their loses and their su [...]


  3. Exhilarating Brutal yet beautiful Wao I really enjoyed both the style and the story of this whirlwind of a novel by Junot D az I can see why he got a Pulitzer and wonder if he other books are as fun to read I think that Seven Killings was even masterful, but Oscar delivers nearly as much gore and Caribbean corruption and historical facts as well I especially enjoyed the footnotes Writing any about this book would certainly break my no spoilers rules so suffice it to say that this book was GREA [...]


  4. Ok, I m writing a review of this book right now or I ma die trying goddamn it 1 HOUR LATERI got nothing I ve deleted like 20 paragraphs 1 HOUR LATER 2 bruises in my forehead, kind of dizzy, I ve cursed the gods of knowledge for being born without literary talent And 0 review Oh god I give up This is all I got This book is awesome Is a nerdy dude being nerdy as hell and not getting pussy Even tho he desperately wants it he watches Akira which I think is kind of cool he watches cool tv shows that [...]


  5. I bought Oscar Wao as a birthday gift for my mother in October based on scores of sterling reviews She read it, gave it a mild thumbs up probably just being nice and handed it off to me Now having read it, I m pretty mortified I thought this book would be something she might like The critical consensus seemed to be that Junot Diaz is a good writer, and he picked a good story to tell here in his first novel But I found this book lacking on both counts I found the writing lazy and unexpressive in [...]


  6. Soon after I started reading this book, I also started reading Housekeeping vs The Dirt by Nick Hornby In it s preface, Hornby discusses why reading has fallen by the wayside as of late A lot of people associate reading with boredom because to most, it feels like a chore to get through novels If people would just read what they enjoyed, then they would begin again to see the pleasures of reading and thus, do of it he even makes a point that someone who reads only The Economist and their daily p [...]


  7. Honestly, if someone had warned me that this book would barrage me, page after page, line after line, clause after clause, with obscure dorky references, Dominican Republican history lessons, and Spanish colloquialisms, I may not have picked it up But I am glad I did.It is comforting to realize that on the scale of nerd dom, I fall on the light end I could follow the shout outs to science fiction authors, as well as the Lord of the Rings allusions of which there were many But I was lost for all [...]


  8. Meet Oscar de Leon, dubbed Oscar Wao by bullies who liken him to the foppish Oscar Wilde Our Oscar is a fat, virginal Dominican American teenager who carries a Planet of the Apes lunchbox to school, spends hours painting his Dungeons Dragons miniatures, and who knows about the Marvel Universe than Stan Lee If Nerd was a country, Oscar would be its undisputed king Oscar is the kind of kid sweaty, mumbles to himself, inevitably invades personal space, probably has bad breath we would avoid on the [...]


  9. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot D az is pure genius storytelling at its core This was a Book Club choice that had me a little nervous but in the end had me tightly strapped in for the ride.As the title suggests, there is brevity to Oscar Wao s life Going into the read knowing this fact makes it even harder to accept as you have little hope that he will survive all that is thrown at him in his early years You root for him the entire length of the book but know deep in your heart it [...]


  10. A lot of people seem to either hate or love this book Most people get irritated with misleading title, the hard to follow narration storyline, but mostly with the eclectic use of spanglish that is scattered throughout the book and with no footnote, i might add In an interview, Junot Diaz said that he offered up the Spanish without translation because he wanted to give English readers an idea of the immigrant experience The spanish in this book reflects the immigrant experience The alienation fro [...]


  11. Junot Diaz s 2007 Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Waois an achingly beautiful, irresistibly harrowing depiction of Dominican Republic.The twentieth century s one of the most disreputable dictators, Rafael Trujillo exercised absolute power over Dominican Republic like a feudal lord from February, 1930 until his assassination in May, 1961 The longevity of his barbarous reign led to the pitiless slaughter of 50,000 Dominicans The author, Junot D az persuasively creates [...]


  12. GarbageThis book was recommended to me by my cousin so I thought I would like it I was so wrong All that s here is childish profanity, body shaming, and portraying minorities is stereotypical ways For an author who is so lauded, I am left confused at what he has to offer It all seemed so forced and inorganic for something that was supposedly based on the author s past that it felt like a poorly drawn cartoon that fifth graders would make as if they were aiming to create the next South Park.


  13. How do you pick up the threads of an old life How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back There are some things that time cannot mend Some hurts that go too deepat have taken hold J.R.R Tolkien.Oscar Wao is a wonder of nature A nerd Weirdo Freak This is the story of an outcast and his travails A free spirit who speaks in sci fi gibberish and aspires to become the Dominican J.R.R.Tolkien His isolation is as massive as his 307 pounds and his inglorious vir [...]


  14. Bullet Review WAHHHHHH My life is so horrible I m 100 pounds overweight, have no friends, and have never gotten laid Especially to some fine b tch with huge tits The one time I tried , the girl was in an abusive relationship with a d bag I was TOTALLY the Nice Guy she should have gone with ME Now I will whine and do nerdy things, and occasionally mention them so that the cover blurb saying I m the Dominican Tolkien won t be 100% inaccurate If this is what you want to read, go ahead, be my guest [...]


  15. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a great coming of age tale about a boy who wished to grow up but just couldn t He just managed to grow older And somehow I place this unusual novel between To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger, and of course it has some sinister touch of The Comedians by Graham Greene to boot In September he headed to Rutgers New Brunswick, his mother gave him a hundred dollars and his first kiss in five years, his t o a box of con [...]


  16. Because in my brain there is a sharp edge precise hierarchy of the MODERN CLASSICS read in the most recent years , and because this book is newly minted therein 1STMIDDLESEX2NDTHE CORRECTIONS3RDWORLD S END4TH TIE ON BEAUTY THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFEI mean, surely this is a book to join the others It s about pretty much the same thing as those others it deals with the Family Odyssey Theme of the decade Half century I subscribe to the belief that nowadays the family chronicle, the history that lives [...]


  17. These are the reasons I m abandoning this book 1 It s crude And it s not just the overuse of the f word I m over The sex and violence is crude too There s love that s personal and emotional and touches something deep down inside And then there s banal sex that devalues human connection and emotion, the kind of thing someone who was desensitized to real relationships in preference of porn would write This is the later Even inexperienced Oscar s interest in women is banal and of no depth.2 It s a [...]


  18. I loved listening to this because Lin Manuel Miranda narrated it and, subsequently, I was attuned to every word But although I loved listening to this, both because of Lin s voice and the content, I would love to revisit this in a few years and actually read it to see what else I can pull from it It s very different than anything I would typically read, and it delves so far into backstories and family lineage that I would love to try flying through it in order to pick up connections.This was ju [...]



  19. Junot Diaz has created a masterpiece here, an incredible tribute to Dominican culture and history, and let s face it what in the hell did you know about Dominican anything before you read this book Nada Less than nada Chances are, unless you re Dominican, a Caribbean history buff or a fan of Julia Alvarez s, you know mierda about Trujillo or his reign of terror or how badly Dominican women have been treated.And, if you haven t read this book you don t know Oscar Wao, and that s a tragedy.This bo [...]


  20. I have tended to neglect the Latin American masters of magical realism because of foolish biases in expectation For my taste I stubbornly clung to a preference for outright science fiction or full fledged fantasy over some half way order of things or a sporadic supernatural or otherworldly force of causality in a narrative But I am changing my ways under the onslaught of talented writers who make the magical realism approach work well Like with this one, where Diaz gets me onboard already in the [...]



  21. TBWLOOW would have been a good read , I honestly believe that, but I don t know something happened along the way Maybe it was the fact that I started this during the holidays, and that s not fair to any book, I m the biggest wench from November 15th to January 15th I should limit my reading to People magazine or maybe some old Three s Company scripts I don t know, I haven t figured out the system just yet.Maybe it was my utter lack of knowledge about the political turmoil that is the Dominican R [...]


  22. Hype can really change the way you perceive a book Although the buzz for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao has been steadily building since it was released almost a year ago, the book I picked up at the bookstore had a big, gold starburst attached to it reading WINNER 2008 Pulitzer Prize , and had been brandished THE BEST BOOK I EVER READ by no less authority than my friend Kevin right here on this very website It s almost not fair, the way we build up these books, or movies, or other pop cul [...]


  23. This is someone s masterpiece, is what I kept thinking Someone s lifechanger, someone s book they hug to their chest when they finish and re read every couple of years for the rest of their life And I would nominate it for classic canon worthy for that reason, and I should be so lucky to ever get the gift to discuss it with a class.Diaz tells the story of the de Leon family and their trials and tribulations throughout at least three generations under the horrors of the Trujillo dictatorship in t [...]


  24. This book is a true wonder and treasure, the very definition of a 5 star read I m placing it in the exhalted position of one of my 3 favorite books of all time, sitting alongside The World According to Garp and Love in the Time of Cholera It is a magnificent chronicle of a Dominican American family and the fuku that haunts them throughout generations, with its main focus on poor Oscar, a heavyset nerd personified in eternal search for love, preferably the variety that is accompanied by sex The n [...]


  25. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao spoke my language of self consciousness The parts of yourself that you wish weren t there and cannot forget about They could perch on your shoulder like not so polar opposites of shame and pride Maybe not spoken fluently but we could get by and have a nice conversation about all the good stuff like families, books, musics, hopes and disappointments I liked being talked to It means a lot to me to be able to use my own heart and mind and feel something about wh [...]


  26. I enjoyed this book a lot, and think it deserves the good reviews it s received I just hadn t expected it to be quite as sad as it was Somehow, it wasn t the obviously depressing aspects e.g the persecution and torture that were routinely practiced under the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic that got to me so much as the smaller stuff The continued failure of the various members of Oscar s family to connect, the accumulated hostility between generations, as well as the meanness an [...]


  27. Mini review in englishNOTE READ THIS NOVEL IN ENGLISH AKA THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE DO IT OR YOU WILL LOOSE A LOT OF IDIOMATIC JOKES and ALL the good stuff.Said this, I can definitely say that I am to be declared as Junot Diaz fan Because I heard about this novel before it was assigned as class reading at uni It never ceased to amaze me by the different narrative voices, the words used of dominican spanish that the writing style includes and all the footnotes that the book have They are in there and [...]


  28. This book was kind of disappointing It had a lot of pages I d have to go check to see how many for sure, but only about 83 of them were actually necessary for the story The rest of it was just filler swear words and phrases in Spanish that I didn t understand Oh yeah, also references to nerdy things that I ve never heard of, like fantasy movies and famous sci fi books Because I of course, am the epitome of not nerdy The whole book swore and swore and swore like a swearing sailor, and then every [...]


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