Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2008
National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2008Things 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
"[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)
Dental hygienist, runner, avid reader, and best of all....a lover of music :)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a book that deserves to be read. It's a story that speaks beyond the author's words with truth about life and death. I found myself at odds at many times making every attempt to shield my emotions as the story unfolded. Political, honest, happy, tragic, horrifying, sexual, historical....these are the underlying themes that make this story interesting - one to keep any reader engaged! Happy reading everyone! Peace and love!
I listened and read along as this was one picked for our book club. The resounding opinion form the group was one of disgust. Our group is compromised of a variety of women of different ages and backgrounds. We could not figure out the so called Tolkien references which was one of the draws to the book. Many of us were shaking our heads to who picked the book the year it won the Pulitzer. The book is offensive and demeaning to women. The slang was hard to understand and the only redeeming quality was the tiny bit of history that was given on the atrocities of the Dominican People during the reign of Truillio.
I think I would like to give another Dominican author an opportunity but not sure who yet will need to do a little more research.
Cut down on the demeaning attacks on women and the language could be sliced back a bit. I felt beaten over the head by both.
The audio was the only way I could make it through this book and out of 15 women at the meeting only 5 were able to make it all the way through the novel.
This is one of those prize winners where you go ‘huh?’ Boring, writing isn’t insightful or artful. I read a lot of serious international fiction, and this doesn’t measure up. I made myself keep going to about one third through, to see if was going to kick in, but it never did.
The book was pretty good and possibly even worth reading, but not nearly as good as I had expected based on reviews.
I have listened to many audiobooks before and never had any issues, but for whatever reason this auidiobook was almost impossible to listen to. No matter how many times I tried to play it over, it would constantly skip and jump to different scenes, and there where many times when the narrators voice was playing over itself, saying many things at once. I would NOT recommend purchasing this, just read the book.
Avid reader turned listener.
A co-worker requested this book for a Secret Santa gift and I was intrigued. I'd never heard of the author or title, but figured I would give it a try as I had some credits piling up. It was a very interesting book and one of the reviews I read about this book having a Toni Morrison feel was dead on. A lot of the book takes place in New Jersey too which was a cool aspect for me, being an NJ native and a lot of the locations the narrator references I was familiar with. If you have even an inkling of interest, I would recommend this purchase. I would caution the listener though, as there are several '75-'90 sci fi/nerd references, some I could understand, others I couldn't. The same goes for a lot of the Spanish dialogue.
I love the writing and the story-- Learned enough about The Dominican to want to learn more
I have been waiting to read this award-winning book for ages. I was underwhelmed. I supposed I read it for the wrong reasons, hoping for a story of Oscar and instead getting a story of a Dominican family, a curse, and a country. It reminded me a lot of Love in the Time of Cholera (which I also found underwhelming). It was loaded with hyperbole and some of the characters, despite their ordeals, never were likeable for me (same with Cholera). I LOVED Oscar. This overweight love-obsessed boy (clearly with Asperger's) was my absolute favorite. Much later in the book they finally started to tell Oscar's story. But not for long enough. If this book was more Oscar and less about his Mother, grandparents and Dominican dictators I'd have adored it, devoured it. I was most put off by the lack of any redeeming arcs in the mother's storyline and the lack of any follow through into her life as the mother of the title character. I guess extensive hyperbole and unlikeable characters aren't my cup of tea - despite Nobel Prizes. The narrator was good. Pacing was appropriate. Voices were recognizable. Spanish, in my opinion, was emotive (what I didn't understand with my mediocre command of romance languages was delivered with inflection). Thus, 3 stars total.
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