Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Junot Diaz: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Sameer Rahim reviews Junot Díaz' The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
What distinguishes Junot Díaz's debut from other precocious-geek novels is its historical backdrop. Oscar's story is intercut with that of his family's life in the Dominican Republic - in particular the troubles they faced under the dictator Rafael Trujillo.

"For those of you who missed your mandatory two seconds of Dominican history," writes Díaz in a witty footnote, Trujillo, who ruled from 1930 to 1961, set the standard for third-world dictators. He used violence to enforce his will, re-named all the landmarks in the country after himself and raped any woman - even wives of subordinates - that took his fancy. The novel takes us into the violent world he created.
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