Publisher: Faber & Faber
Length: 335 Pages
About: Overweight nerd falls in love
Style: 1st & 3rd person
Where: US & Dominican Republic
Things have never been easy for Oscar, 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 Fukœ-the curse that has haunted the 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 and the history of the family at
large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and
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 jock. And except
for one period early in his life, dude never had much luck with
females (how very un-Dominican of him).
Funny, street-smart and keenly observed.... An extraordinarily vibrant book that's fueled by adrenaline-powered prose.... A book that decisively establishes [D’az] as one of contemporary fiction's
most distinctive and irresistible new voices.
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Not so good:
The incongruity between Oscar’s circumstances and his background — a disjunction Díaz solves violently and unconvincingly in the book’s final section — is the real subject of “The Brief Wondrous
Life of Oscar Wao.” This is, almost in spite of itself, a novel of assimilation, a fractured chronicle of the ambivalent, inexorable movement of the children of immigrants toward the American middle
class, where the terrible, incredible stories of what parents and grandparents endured in the old country have become a genre in their own right.
The New York Times By A. O. SCOTT September 30, 2007
About the author
Junot Diaz was born in the Dominican Republic and received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from Cornell University. Drown, his collection of short stories, was described as 'a dazzlingly talented
first book' by the Independent on Sunday. He teaches Creative Writing at MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Technology).