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)
This won awards? Everyone in my book club expressed surprise at this books' literary success; only 2 of 10 of us had finished it- I had only because I had it read to me. If you don't speak any Spanish there are apparently websites for translation (why wasn't it footnoted?) I never cared about any of the characters. Really poor.
I admit I only managed to get an hour into this book, but all the eye rolling was making my forehead tired. I can't quite put my finger on what the trouble was, but it felt forced. All of the vulgarity, the slang, even the Spanish phrases inserted for atmosphere gave me the impression of an author trying really hard to be cool, and just coming across as a bore.
The historical bits are interesting, but the plot is awful.
Foul mouthed pointless angst
Good characterizations but reading would have been faster. I kept thinking I must get better with so many good reviews.
All the male characters.
Brilliant vivid writing. An almost pathological fixation on sex. The most interesting parts of the story were descriptions of the Dominican dictator, Trujillo. Some disgustingly graphic descriptions of torture. Wanted to stop listening on several occasions but was compelled to continue to find out what happened.
Belli her life's story is truly heartbreaking.
No!!! The author created a multi generational saga that was compelling seemed plausible and beyond depressing.
If it wasn't for the constant vulgar language that kept rudely interrupting my meandering thoughts I could have listened to this entire book without ever actually paying attention to what was going on in the story. Pretty much all the characters have these traumatic horrific experiences and then the book just ends. The author (who is a jerk) tried to wrap everything up in the end with a few lines from Watchmen that were not thought provoking or enlightening at all. I actually threw my ipod down and said aloud "are you freaking kidding me? That's how this ends?" I mean it didn't even really end, it just trailed off. Oh and to make matters worse I don't speak any spanish at all, this book is obviously not meant for a gringa like me,
At some points the book was confusing and sentences never-ending. But this story was amazing and weaved together things I never imagined could be mixed. Most of all this story was real, I found myself relating to it immensely. It was violent and unabashed but excellent. I wish I knew Spanish, it would have made it much better.
I missed much of this book because I don't speak Spanish. I want my money back! What I got was not very enjoyable because it was so scattered I couldn't follow the characters or the plot.
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....
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,
The story just isn't that good, so even a good aurator can't save this...
None, escept that I managed to finish it.
I was never so happy to finish an audio book.
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.
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.
The reading I heard of the Wonderland chapter on Selected Shorts blew the reading of it in the book WAY OUT of the water!
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