Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Junot Diaz: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Neel Mukherjee reviews Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
And through the tissue of the personal dramas of his characters, Díaz weaves the history of 20th-century Dominican Republic, both in its presence as a kind of scathing narrative unfolding through the footnotes, and in the more oblique way of how his characters come to get caught up in that history, participate in it, become its victims and survivors. This is a blistering novel, its language and style an effortless extension of the immense varieties of immigrant Englishes that have been appropriated for fiction, a high-octane, amphetamine-fuelled marriage of demotic Spanish and English that is equally at home with rough street slang and the domain of poetry.

Its characters are unforgettable, its emotional impact both crushing and liberating at the same time, and the voice in which it speaks, a rare, new, spellbinding sound altogether.
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