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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.

Also includes the bestselling short story collection Drown.

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

Critic Reviews

"[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 Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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this audiobook is amazing

the story. ten out of ten. the narrator.... turned it up to eleven. so good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Vastly Informative and Emotional Ride

Would you consider the audio edition of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao to be better than the print version?

I switched back and forth between the written and audio. I found one augmented the other. since there is so much Spanish vernacular, it was extremely helpful to hear the phrases and then to be able to see those words in print.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis and Staci Snell – was your favorite?

The narrator, Yunior, was ultimately the most moving character next to the tragic Oscar. Although I can understand why Staci Snell read Lola's section, I couldn't help but wish for the return of Jonathan Davis' voice.

If you could take any character from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Oscar, to tell him that I understand.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Joe Kraus
  • Kingston, PA, United States
  • 03-26-13

Oscar Wow

What did you love best about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao?

This one is a s good as I'd heard it was supposed to be. It's a story that moves; it's a successful experiement in narrative form; and it's a key step forward in the evolution of the ethnic-American novel. One of the best Audible listens I've had.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis and Staci Snell ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Both read well, but I'm not sure the dual narrator experience added that much.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • logan
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 12-01-12

Written very well

Very well written and the narration was excellent. Unique way of story telling and very good job of providing a listener to the deep thoughts of each character.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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What a stupendous book

I'm sure Junot Diaz doesn't need to know my opinion, but he is a fantastic writer! This story is by turns hilarious, heartbreaking and astonishing. There are moments that make you hold your breath and wish better things for the characters. The use of language is unique and always compelling. Just a great book, well performed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Lived completely up to its reputation

Beautiful, layered book, beautifully read, which affirmed some things I already knew and taught me a fair bit I didn't. I did not want it to end. Highest praise.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Powerful

I loved the style of this author. My favorite books are those that let me get in the head and life of people unlike myself. This was well accomplished in this book. I came out with a greater understanding of what it would be like to live in a country with a cruel dictator and to see the colorful people who live and love through it all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

a cultural plunge

Great reading and voice that makes the times, the people and the story come alive - congratulations. And not knowing much about the DR's history, it was a great way to learn about cruelty, jealousy and triumph. And I sure like Oscar.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Superb


This book was superb, entertaining and educational. The narrator was wonderful. The book deserved and received the pulitzer prize.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Aidan
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 09-24-09

More than just a book on tape

The performances are superb. This is a wonderful story, but the narrators become just as important as what they are saying, and really bring it to life. Your internal monologue will become colored with their quirks and vernacular. The book itself is littered with references to all kinds of things - not just nerdy stuff, although there is plenty of that - that will make you laugh and feel pretty smart when you pick up on them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful