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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by…

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)

by Junot Diaz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,401413406 (3.86)1 / 604
1960s (61)
My TBR (16)

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English (398)  French (4)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (407)
Showing 1-5 of 398 (next | show all)
A humorous, self-conscious style coupled with evocative descriptions of locales and a strand of the supernatural put this above rank-and-file coming of age novels. ( )
  amandrake | Mar 18, 2019 |
I've had this novel on my shelf for a year or more and meant to get around to reading it. After Diaz' entertaining appearance on the Colbert Report, I thought it was time to grab it and begin. I'm so glad I did.

This is a hip, fast-moving, deeply loving ode to chubby and geekish Oscar, the least Dominican of Dominicans, the most nerdly of his neighborhood. I LOVED Diaz' use of language throughout, especially of his characters' slang (most of which I didn't understand, but could either guess at or grab a quick Google translation for) - there's no stilted speech here. Instead there is fire and depth and fascinating, broken, yearning characters plunging headlong into a cursed life. Fuku indeed.

A ton of reviews here on GR have slammed this book for its unclean language, its frivolous descriptions of love and sex - but that dirty reality seemed like truth to me, even though that culture isn't my own.

I'll read more of Diaz for certain, and I'm passing this book around to folks who I think will also appreciate it. ( )
  patl | Feb 18, 2019 |
There was very little in this book to inspire me. It was a dark, despairing story. The sarcasm is not my cup of tea, nor is the deprecating sense of humor. I really tried to see some semblance of message, purpose or coherence and was left bland. It proves you cannot please everyone and some of us are dense. As a story of history of the Dominican Republic it was horrific and that is an important historical lesson. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
How can one book be so brilliant and hilarious and so depressing and brutal at the same time?? ( )
  cavernism | Jan 11, 2019 |
I've not made a lot of progress in this book. Like the story in itself, but I absolutely dislike the notes.
If it's not a scientific work you're writing, why put notes in DURING the story? The interrupt and deflect. The contents may be interesting, but the form is bad for reading properly.

Finished this book. I got over my aversion of the notes and actually started to like Oscar's story. Mixed with the Dominican background/history, in was an interesting read.
In the end I had had enough, did the form in which the book was presented make me wish the story wad finished. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Dec 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 398 (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 (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Junot Diazprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bragg, BillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snell, StaciNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)
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.
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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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.

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