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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (edition 2008)

by Junot Díaz

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8,387351369 (3.86)1 / 497
Member:winteralli
Title:The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Authors:Junot Díaz
Info:Riverhead Trade (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Read
Rating:***1/2
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

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English (341)  French (4)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (351)
Showing 1-5 of 341 (next | show all)
I'm constantly coming back to this book. I love its underlying theme of the perpetuating curse, the power of the stories (and histories) we tell ourselves. ( )
  ruinedmap | May 19, 2015 |
Interesting premise and entertaining narration with fascinating (and sometimes depressing) footnotes. I really enjoyed the characters, especially Wao himself. This is definitely a worthwhile read, but too dark and intense for my taste. ( )
  sandye33 | May 19, 2015 |
We studied it in my Creative Writing class at university, and I loved it! ( )
  LoriShwydky | May 6, 2015 |
A wonderful book, rich in sf fandom references and language-y goodness (bilingual geek puns!) and Dominican history and mythology; let down only by a) my ebook version moving all the footnotes to the end of the chapter by which point I'd forgotten what they were footnotes to, and b) the sad prevalence of the "poor lonely geek guy can't get laid" trope in popular culture being matched only by my complete lack of interest in whether or not a character has sex: it's just not a goal I can care about. But the prose, and all the other characters, were fantastic. ( )
  zeborah | May 3, 2015 |
This was not what I expected - it was better. Definitely a different sort of book, and I related to parts of it. I liked all the Spanish in the book, as it was very similar to many Puerto Rican sayings (pretty much identical, actually!). Tomorrow we'll discuss it at book club and I'm interested to hear the comments and learn more about the book. ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 341 (next | show all)
Díaz’s novel also has a wild, capacious spirit, making it feel much larger than it is. Within its relatively compact span, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” contains an unruly multitude of styles and genres. The tale of Oscar’s coming-of-age is in some ways the book’s thinnest layer, a young-adult melodrama draped over a multigenerational immigrant family chronicle that dabbles in tropical magic realism, punk-rock feminism, hip-hop machismo, post-postmodern pyrotechnics and enough polymorphous multiculturalism to fill up an Introduction to Cultural Studies syllabus.
 
It is Mr. Díaz’s achievement in this galvanic novel that he’s fashioned both a big picture window that opens out on the sorrows of Dominican history, and a small, intimate window that reveals one family’s life and loves. In doing so, he’s written a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction’s most distinctive and irresistible new voices.
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Junot Diazprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snell, StaciNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Of what import are brief, nameless lives . . . to Galactus?? (Fantastic Four, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Vol. 1, No. 49, April 1966)
Christ have mercy on all sleeping things!
From that dog rotting down Wrightson Road
to when I was a dog on these streets;
if loving these islands must be my load,
out of corruption my soul takes wings,
But they had started to poison my soul
with their big house, big car, bit-time hbohl,
coolie, nigger, Syrian, and French Creole,
so I leave it for them and their carnival--
I taking a sea-bath, I gone down the road.
I know these islands from Monos to Nassau,
a rusty head sailor with sea-green eyes
that they nickname Shabine, the patois for
any red nigger, and I, Shabine, saw
when these slums of empire was paradise.
I'm just a red nigger who love the sea,
I had a sound colonial education,
I have Dutch, nigger, and English in me,
and either I'm nobody, or I'm a nation.
(Derek Walcott)
Dedication
Elizabeth de Leon
First words
They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles.
Quotations
You wanna smoke?
I might partake. Just a little though. I would not want to cloud my faculties.
“They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles. Fukú americanus, or more colloquially, fukú–generally a curse or a doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and the Doom of the New World. Also called the fukú of the Admiral because the Admiral was both its midwife and one of its great European victims; despite “discovering” the New World the Admiral died miserable and syphilitic, hearing (dique) divine voices. In Santo Domingo, the Land He Loved Best (what Oscar, at the end, would call the Ground Zero of the New World), the Admiral’s very name has become synonymous with both kinds of fukú, little and large; to say his name aloud or even to hear it is to invite calamity on the heads of you and yours.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0739494287, Paperback)

Brief biographical study.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:55 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Oscar, an overweight Dominican from a New Jersey ghetto, dreams of becoming a writer and finding love, but a Fuku curse has haunted his family for generations, and may well prevent him from attaining his desires.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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