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Publisher's Summary

Things have never been easy for Oscar. A ghetto nerd living with his Dominican family in New Jersey, he's sweet but disastrously overweight. He dreams of becoming the next J R R Tolkien and he keeps falling hopelessly in love. Poor Oscar may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku - the curse that has haunted his family for generations.

With dazzling energy and insight Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous lives of Oscar; his runaway sister Lola; their beautiful mother Belicia; and in the family's uproarious journey from the Dominican Republic to the US and back.

Rendered with uncommon warmth and humour, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a literary triumph that confirms Junot Diaz as one of the most exciting writers of our time.

©2007 Junot Diaz; (P)2008 Recorded Books LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Helps if you speak Spanish!

The narrators were of a high standard, but there is a fair amount of spanish used throughout the book. I'm told the print version translates the spanish in footnotes and I certainly would have got more from the audiobook had those footnotes been incorporated. Nonetheless it was a good, though depressing, listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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didn't want it to end!

A fantastic story - both hilarious and tragic at the same time. Had me laughing out loud and choked up too. The narrator was amazing and made the story for me. 100% recommend!

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No, no, no

I have no idea how this story was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. To me it feels more aimed at young adults - certainly this reading makes it feel this way & the main narrator of the story feels better suited to a younger audience.

I couldn't buy in to the story at all. Some of the characters, yes, especially the female ones. But Oscar - the main character - felt completely inaccessible to me. I didn't see any development in him throughout the storyline & his "achievements" seemed to be more down to luck than personal growth. As a character he was very limited.

Little about Oscar's own life seemed "Wonderous" to me. His family history certainly had some interest in it, but his own life held little.

Oscar's friend "Junior" the narrator seemed a strange choice to tell the story of Oscar's family as it seemed unlikely he'd have had access to as much information as the story contained.

I persisted to the end with this one but it felt like wasted effort.

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  • cazzface
  • 05-18-15

Fantastic

It's easy to see why this book is being hailed as the next modern classic, it's extremely well written with a very human and intriguing story. The different characters are all well developed and have their own distinct voices. The narrator does a brilliant job. Highly recommend, I only wish I spoke better Spanish, I'm going to be spending a lot of time on Google translator for my next listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • M.
  • 03-12-15

Wow.

Awesome, educational, revolting, heartbreaking. I highly recommend this book. It's told in such a great way. So honest and with such cool references. It just blew my mind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 11-01-10

The Bard of Silk City

Junot Diaz is well known and this novel was much anticipated through his short-story work on The New Yorker and on that basis, I dived into this full length novel with relish. It represents a fresh voice which stands apart, above and beyond lots of new millennium city-lit in the States and is an invigorating read, though not necessarily from start to finish.
There are definite high-points through the narrative - in particular long sections of The Three Heartbreaks of Belicia Cabral and Poor Abelard are really engaging and fascinating for someone who knew nothing of the brutal regime of Rafael Trujillo its history and impact on the Dominican Republic - and these sections alone are worth the money. Elsewhere, the ?modern? GhettoNerd at the End of the World , whilst well ornamented, does not seem to sparkle to the same extent that is suggested by the wonderful ?Alma? on which the earlier expressed anticipation was based. Junot Diaz has certainly found the voice of Silk City, but the short-comings of Oscar as a central character on which to hang the narrative translates to a little disappointment on my part - whilst I?m really not interested in Star Trek and Marvel the litter of detailed Dominica detritus sustains the work through the less than dazzling sections. Maybe more (or is that less) simpatico on the part of hombre Wao might have livened this one up to consistent heights - but that?s just small potato criticism of a highly original and entertaining new voice on the New York scene.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-02-17

I can see why this won the Pulitzer.

Absolutely incredible and stunning book! beautifully narrated and engrossing. Not at all surprised it's a Pulitzer winner.

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  • Lyly
  • 07-18-17

It was so honest

This story. Just no words for this story. I laughed and definitely cried... hard. Not a story for the faint hearted but anyone who can stomach a brutally honest, passionate, profound story. Look no further. There is no other book like it.

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  • Reeshar S
  • 05-07-17

First novel I've truly enjoyed for years

Totally transported by the text and the quality of the narration. So happy to have stumbled upon it.

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  • Shaenandhoa R.
  • 01-22-17

book, tribute to the Latin American imagination, culture and history.

This is a wonderful book, tribute to the Latin American imagination, culture and history. A fantastic story about families built upon diaspora and generational impacts of tirany. Full of references to contemporary topics, but also ageless one. If you are interested on insights into Latin American life and ways of thinking this a great book for you!

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  • Rachel Gledhill
  • 12-20-16

Wonderful narration

What does Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The seamless switches between English and Spanish really worked during the narration for me, whereas I think it may have been jarring during reading. There was a depth and feeling and genuine enjoyment of the story from both of the narrators.

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  • Katie
  • 09-09-16

Lin-Manuel Miranda is perfect

I mean Lin's a great performer, I listened to this as opposed to reading a physical copy because Lin was reading it and I'm maybe slightly obsessed with him. Still the story was enjoyable if different from what I was expecting. It helps to have some knowledge of the Spanish language or nerd culture but I'd imagine it's still enjoyable without those tools.

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  • Caroline
  • 01-15-16

Lyrical and Downright Beautiful Reading!

I tried to read this book about three times and found the writing style really difficult to wrap my head around. The quality of writing is excellent, but the grammatical style is such that several times in a row I couldn't get past the first couple of pages. But Lin's reading is stellar. It brought the prose to life in a way that only the very best audiobooks can. His musical background is evident in the playful, lyrical reading style.

Completely gorgeous and a joy to listen to.

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  • Narelle Campbell
  • 05-09-17

Both disturbing and engaging.

Beautifully read. Some have expressed concern over the amount of Spanish, but I think it works well in emphasising that sense of estrangement for those of us reading from an outside perspective. Love the underlying nerd narrative. For me, that was a wonderfully accessible aspect of the novel.