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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao | [Junot Diaz]

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. 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 Fuku: the curse that has haunted 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2008

National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2008

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 Fuku: the curse that has haunted 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.

©2007 Junot Diaz; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. and Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"[A] wondrous, not-so-brief first novel that is so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets Star Trek meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West. [W]ondrous [and] original. … [This work] decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction’s most distinctive and irresistible new voices." (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)

"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is panoramic and yet achingly personal. … It’s Dominican and American, not about immigration but diaspora, in which one family’s dramas are entwined with a nation’s, not about history as information but as dark-force destroyer." (Susan Straight, Los Angeles Times)

"[A] book whose imaginative energy, linguistic volatility, historical passion and all-around love of life (and its characters) make it one of the best first novels of the past few decades. … A profane and sacred, playful and serious, light and dark, filthy-throated and bittersweet treatise on life as we need to know it." (Alan Cheuse, Dallas Morning News)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (2170 )
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4.2 (903 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Michelle Alden, MI, United States 04-01-13
    Michelle Alden, MI, United States 04-01-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    Story
    "Don't bother..."
    What would have made The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao better?

    This was a horrible audible, and not much of a story at all, but after you have invested time, hard not to listen. Maybe the author could have used the "N" word less or not at all....


    Has The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao turned you off from other books in this genre?

    For one, I don't speak Spanish, so I didn't understand a lot of what was said. And again the use of the "N" word was a huge turn off,


    What didn’t you like about Jonathan Davis and Staci Snell ’s performance?

    The story just isn't that good, so even a good aurator can't save this...


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    None, escept that I managed to finish it.


    Any additional comments?

    I was never so happy to finish an audio book.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Nashville, TN, United States 02-28-13
    Ryan Nashville, TN, United States 02-28-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic book, ok performance"
    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The story is the best part. Very talented author. The male performance (Johnathan Davis) is poorly selected for the material, and a hispanic male reader would have been a more appropriate choice. The female performance was more fitting to the source material.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lemuel G. Oakland, CA, United States 03-19-12
    Lemuel G. Oakland, CA, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "I wish Junot Diaz had done the reading himself."
    Would you listen to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao again? Why?

    No. I didn't like the narrator. He did well at switching between accents and voices but his narrator voice was too much like a radio announcers.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and why?

    The mother.


    Any additional comments?

    The reading I heard of the Wonderland chapter on Selected Shorts blew the reading of it in the book WAY OUT of the water!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elton Memphis, TN, United States 02-27-11
    Elton Memphis, TN, United States 02-27-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    "Miscast narrator"

    I wonder how much I would have liked the book if I had read and not listened to it. The narrator was a terrible match, sounding stiff and unnatural with the (English) street slang that pervades the book. He basically ruined it for me, making the listening experience a real grind. I suppose the narrator was chosen for his Spanish, which he did seem at ease with.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick G. Woods 06-02-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Horrible!"

    I struggled to listen to all of it. It was so horrible. I failed to see the point. It's a book about man's inhumanity to man, plain and simple. I have no idea why the reviews have been so overwhelmingly positive.

    2 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gila Oakland, CA, United States 04-12-09
    Gila Oakland, CA, United States 04-12-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun to listen, but Dominican history is gruesome"

    The language is fun, but Dominican history is hard to stomach. Still an enjoyable book.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Scotia, NY, United States 12-03-12
    Mary Scotia, NY, United States 12-03-12 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring. Couldn't finish it."

    I've had this book on my wish list for a long time, based on good reviews it has received. I wish I hadn't wasted the book point on it. The story was dull and rambling. The characters were uninteresting; I couldn't connect with any of them. And the narration was awful. I got the impression the narrators were as disengaged with the story as I was. I generally like fiction set against the backdrop of history and various cultures (Barbara Kingsolver's "Poisonwood Bible" is one of my favorites), but this book totally disappointed me.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gretchen Riverview, FL, United States 08-03-08
    Gretchen Riverview, FL, United States 08-03-08 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "you had better know spanish"

    I could not even finish this book, way too much spanish, and so demeaning to women and I guess men too, to see women just as a pair of "boobs" ... probably good book for 17 yr old "macho boys" ... life is so much more !!! than "boobs"

    1 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lewis Portsmouth, VA, United States 08-08-08
    lewis Portsmouth, VA, United States 08-08-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "horrible"

    half the reading was in spanish or another similar language and didn't understand or get to enjoy that part of the book. one of the worst books we have ever purchased because of this problem.

    1 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Rice, VA, United States 09-16-08
    Joan Rice, VA, United States 09-16-08 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why????"

    In the entire time I've been an Audible listener (7 years), I've only ditched one other book. This is worse than that one was. It's so pointless I won't bother to say any more than DON"T WASTE YOUR TIME.

    1 of 20 people found this review helpful
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