The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
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The Pulitzer Prize
The National Book Critics Circle Award
The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
The Jon Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize
A Time Magazine #1 Fiction Book of the Year
Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuk --the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim. D az immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar Read More chevron_right
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is 339 pages long.
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Which awards has The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao won?
in 2009 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in category .
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Book Reviews (1)
Shiny & dull
By David W , Jul 6, 2021
I actually bought this book before it won the Pulitzer but just now got around to reading it. It's not horrible, but I did not find it compelling, either. It's just sort of "there". I would read during lunch, or before bedtime, and could have shelved it or taken it to the used bookstore at any point. The only reason I finished reading this book is because I started reading it in the first place.
Numerous people have commented about the use of Spanish, Spanglish, hip-hop, or street language in the book. Admittedly, I probably missed some nuances because I didn't take the time to translate every non-English phrase. But, again, it wasn't compelling enough to me to make the effort. Which begat which, apathy or disinterest?
I also didn't find the "multiperspectival view" as compelling as did Publisher's Weekly. To me, it fragmented the story's flow, although provided some interesting background info. As some have mentioned, one is left to wonder, is this a story about its titular character, or his sister, or his mother, or a sadistic Dominican dictator, or his grandmother, or......
The writing is edgy, witty, sometimes funny, and, Diaz can certainly take an interesting turn with a sentence or phrase, but for me the style could not overcome the substance. It's as if this book is avant jazz being played at the Nebraska State Fair (no offense intended to any Nebraskans out there). Maybe it's great & I simply lack the degree in literary criticism that would allow me to enjoy it, but give me Cormac McCarthy any day instead.
A more accurate title would be "The Brief Somewhat Interesting but Certainly not Wondrous Life of a Fat Nerd and his Entire Family Tree, Plus a History of the Dominican Republic." So, if you're into that, dig it.
Recommended to buy: No