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