Dear Reader

Random musings on reading and books from a librarian in training.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

I just finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and am happy to report that it deserved all the hype. I don't want to have any spoilers because you MUST run out and get this book. Oscar is a hapless, lovelorn nerd. He dreams of being like JRR Tolkein and having a girlfriend. (I did find myself wishing I remembered my Spanish better because I feel like I did miss some things. )

"Our hero was not one of those Dominican cats everybody's always going on about -- he wasn't no home-run hitter or a fly bachatero, not a playboy with a million hots on his jack."
"He wanted to blame the books, the sci-fi, but he couldn't -- he loved them too much."
"Love was a rare thing, easily confused with a million other things, and if anybody knew this to be true it was him."

Stepping back, Oscar's story and that of his family's is intertwined with the Dominican Republic and Trujillo. His grandfather is tortured and imprisoned for allegedly saying something negative about Trujillo. His family's history in the Dominican Republic is told in flashbacks with Trujillo's regime casting a long, poisonous shadow.

Junot Diaz just won a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts.

If you liked The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I would also recommend In The Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, which is a fictional account of the Mirabel sisters. The novel was inspired by three sisters who were murdered after participating in a failed plot to overthrow Trujillo.

1 comment: said...

My book club read this book, also, and I thought it was excellent. The descriptions of life in the Dominican Republic during that era are fascinating. Highly recommended reading.

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