The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz
Literature
Aug 1, 2018
The first thing that strikes you is the prose: It’s fast and agile, unafraid to mix ingredients. English and Spanish and Spanglish combine to energize the sentences, which move easily between different modes of discourse—expository, conversational, professorial, confidential, ribald, tender, rambunctious—but never stray for long from speech rhythms. Now shouting, now murmuring, now explaining or exhorting, the voice of the narrator—a man named Yunior, as we will eventually discover—relates the life of his friend Oscar de Leon, an overweight, nerdy, sensitive boy possessed of—or more exactly by—what Díaz has called “outré interests.” Yunior’s narration also encompasses the times of Oscar’s family (including his sister, Lola, Yunior’s former love), immigrants to New Jersey from the Dominican Republic. The book’s style is powerful, and it needs to be, because it must treat several spheres of action and dimensions of experience, diverse in register and implication. Along the way, the story bounces back and forth between yearning and nostalgia, tenderness and violence, nerdiness and nobility, anguish and—not least, and almost inexplicably—joy.
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Nov 28, 2018
This mesmerized me.
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Jun 25
A well plotted morality tale
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