Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Junot Díaz - Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Michiko Kakutani reviews Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Junot Díaz’s “Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is a wondrous, not-so-brief first novel that is so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets “Star Trek” meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West. It is funny, street-smart and keenly observed, and it unfolds from a comic portrait of a second-generation Dominican geek into a harrowing meditation on public and private history and the burdens of familial history. An extraordinarily vibrant book that’s fueled by adrenaline-powered prose, it’s confidently steered through several decades of history by a madcap, magpie voice that’s equally at home talking about Tolkien and Trujillo, anime movies and ancient Dominican curses, sexual shenanigans at Rutgers University and secret police raids in Santo Domingo.

Mr. Díaz, the author of a critically acclaimed collection of short stories published in 1996 (“Drown”), writes in a sort of streetwise brand of Spanglish that even the most monolingual reader can easily inhale: lots of flash words and razzle-dazzle talk, lots of body language on the sentences, lots of David Foster Wallace-esque footnotes and asides. And he conjures with seemingly effortless aplomb the two worlds his characters inhabit: the Dominican Republic, the ghost-haunted motherland that shapes their nightmares and their dreams; and America (a k a New Jersey), the land of freedom and hope and not-so-shiny possibilities that they’ve fled to as part of the great Dominican diaspora.
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  1. My dearest friend

    I have been scouring the net for a blog like this...and boy is it good!!! Please keep writing - I can't have enough of latin american writers, movies and news from that part of the world.

    Thanks mate!

  2. Thanks for the visit.