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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by…
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Junot Diaz

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,240389324 (3.87)1 / 560
Member:xuesheng
Title:The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Authors:Junot Diaz
Info:Riverhead Trade (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 339 pages
Collections:1001 Books, Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, own, 1001 books, read(2013), 13 in 13, New Jersey, USA, Dominican Republic, Trujillo, curse, Pulitzer

Work details

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2007)

  1. 110
    The World According to Garp by John Irving (GoST)
  2. 90
    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Smiler69, chrisharpe)
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    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Smiler69)
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    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (Othemts)
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  6. 40
    The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa (chrisharpe)
  7. 30
    In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (weener)
    weener: Oscar Wao mentions In the Time of the Butterflies in a footnote. Both dealing so gracefully with the Trujillo regime, they seem like complementary books.
  8. 10
    No Place For Heroes: A Novel by Laura Restrepo (eenerd)
  9. 10
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  10. 00
    Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    A Bad Idea I'm About to Do: True Tales of Seriously Poor Judgment and Stunningly Awkward Adventure by Chris Gethard (andomck)
    andomck: New Jersey setting, nerdy/outcast protagonist, pop culture references, etc
  12. 00
    Caribbean Connections: The Dominican Republic by Anne Callin (sungene)
    sungene: To learn more about the DR, and for an essay by Junot Díaz.
  13. 00
    Jasmine Nights by S.P. Somtow (nsblumenfeld)
  14. 11
    Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware (2810michael, 2810michael)
  15. 00
    Hermanas : roman by Torgrim Eggen (GoST)
  16. 00
    Neuromancer by William Gibson (andomck)
    andomck: Neuromancer is exactly the type of 80's nerd culture that Oscar Wait submerged himself in.
  17. 00
    The Lost Legends of New Jersey by Frederick Reiken (Othemts)
  18. 12
    Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (weener)
    weener: One is fiction, one is non-fiction. One is in Latin America, one is in Asia. Both are heartbreaking, deeply affecting tales of life under totalitarianism.
  19. 23
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (bbudke)
  20. 47
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (Cecilturtle, 2810michael)

(see all 20 recommendations)

1960s (105)
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English (378)  French (4)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  English (1)  Swedish (1)  English (389)
Showing 1-5 of 378 (next | show all)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is amazing: part family history, part history of the Dominican Republic, part slice of life of what it's like to grow up a fat geek of color.

But what this really is is a character study of a Dominican family with, depending how you look at it, the best or worst luck on the planet (best because of how much they survive, worst because of what they have to go through).

Diaz is masterful in letting you meet a character and gain an impression of them from their actions in someone else's story, then introducing you to that same character in their own story and changing your initial impression. He really makes each member of this poor, messed up family come alive to the reader.

The style is very conversational, with enough comic book and sci-fi references to keep any geek happy and enough colloquial spanish to really spice up the latin flavor. ( )
  Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
This was one of those books that when I liked it, I loved it. Loved the mash-up of Dominican history with super heros, loved Oscar's family, loved the narrator. Bit I was a little bored by poor Oscar, esp by the end. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
loved loved loved. brilliant. ( )
  pixiegenne | Nov 11, 2016 |
Vulgar and irreverent trip through three generations of Dominican history. The prose is replete with imaginative cocktails of Spanglish and comic-book geek-speak that possibly makes it impenetrable to anyone who isn't a Hispanic sci-fi fan. ( )
  Humberto.Ferre | Sep 28, 2016 |
Goodreads says that 1 star means "Did not like it" and 2 stars means "It was okay." It was not okay. It was dull. I gave it about 60 pages and then gave up due to boredom, despite getting a large portion of the endless references. Still, I feel I must be missing something, due to the reviews, but this book is not for me. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 378 (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 (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Junot Diazprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pareschi, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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)

» see all 13 descriptions

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