‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ by Junot Díaz


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The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was actually quite lengthy because Señor Díaz decided to, not only tell us about the overweight Oscar who was getting no loving from the ladies, but also about his sister, Lola (a rebel who fought their mother to a standstill); about his mother, Belicia (who had a torturous upbringing in the Dominican Republic and suffered a beating that left the child in her womb miscarried and her for dead); about his paternal grandfather, Abelard (once a successful doctor who was imprisoned by the Rafael Trujillo regime, infamous Dominican dictator).


The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is essentially a history book. Díaz plunges you into the history of his people, describing a culture ridden in superstition – the awful fear of the fukú that crosses generations – breaking down in detail (señor added footnotes!) the turmoil and heartache Dominicans endured at the hands of Trujillo, whom he fondly calls ‘The Failed Cattle Thief’.


Our narrator is Yunior, a recurring character in Díaz’s work. The novel tended to go on and on (and it might be because I’m so used to Diaz’s short stories which are often nice and sweet). At some point because (duh, the title) I knew poor Oscar was going to die, I just wanted it to be over and done with. My heart couldn’t take it anymore.


Again, I ask you, dear reader, what is there not to love about Díaz?


(One of my) Favourite Quote(s):


"Business terrible, he lamented. Too much politics. Politics bad for everything but politicians."
Three: The Three Heartbreaks of Belicia Cabral

 


Spoiler: At the end, Oscar got the girl! The beauty! The beauty!

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