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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (edition 2008)

by Junot Diaz

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8,500355362 (3.86)1 / 499
Member:remymomma
Title:The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Authors:Junot Diaz
Info:Riverhead Trade (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 339 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

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English (344)  French (4)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (354)
Showing 1-5 of 344 (next | show all)
I had to struggle with this but is it because I'm not getting enough sleep?

There are some very funny, vulgar passages - some quite troubling, graphic violence - some disturbing history of Dominican Republic history - lots of spanglish phrases to capture the flavor of the different voices that tell these family stories. I believe it is definitely worth the effort to read it. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
This book surprised me and was not at all what I expected. Written in a unique way with such prose and elegant language, also in Spanish which the author believes and trust his audience to be able to read and understand. The story is of Oscar Wao and the generations before him struggling with a superstition know as the fuku. The stories that ensue are heartbreaking but up lifting. Oscar, undesirable by every girl imaginable but a complete romantic. The book reminds of all of our true fault of love and what it does to us, how it makes us act, and how it can affect us in such devastating ways. This book was funny, witty, as well as a culture shock into the world of the Dominican Republic of the time. I would truly recommend this book to everyone awaiting an experience they never thought possible with a book. ( )
  alejandro.santana | Jul 2, 2015 |
I really love generational books like One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Although The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao isn't quite as epic as the two that I mentioned, it still gave me that appeal. And perhaps I think that's why I enjoyed the book as much as I did.

One thing that I think might turn a lot of people off to this book is the use of Spanish thrown into the dialogue and the narrative. If I had never taken a single Spanish class in my life, I think that I might have had a much more difficult time getting into the story when given information that I can't even understand. But hey…with my basic background in Spanish that I took in high school, it was more than enough to not only understand most of what was being said, but to also be able to catch the subtle jokes here and there.

And speaking of background knowledge, any science fiction fan would also have a blast catching all the references here and there. There were a few that I didn't quite get, but knowing what fantasy and sci-fi is all about, I think I caught the gist of it.

Finally, there was the lack of quotation marks. Most books, I would find that really troublesome. It's really meant to help the reader get the flow of the narrative and not get confused when characters are talking to one another. However, Junot Diaz does a wonderful job doing getting the dialogue across without the necessity of these bulky quotation marks. Why populate the novel with such trivial pieces? His prose and voice is distinct, I felt, and the lack of quotation marks actually helped the flow of the overall book.

For a wonderful read about the brief, wondrous life of Oscar Wao, give this one a try. ( )
1 vote jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 344 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:23 -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)

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