May 28, 2009

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

I loved this book as much as I loved The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. They're both Pulitzer-winners with a comics theme, so I guess that's the kind of book I like. With an epigraph from Fantastic Four and an extended Watchmen metaphor in the last few pages, I'm sure comic book fans (like my fiance Kelly, whose books are in the picture above) will enjoy it also. 

This book covers the lives of Oscar, an obese Dominican "ghetto nerd", and his entire family, from his sister and mother back to his grandparents, and the fuku (curse) that affects them all. Another shadow covering them is that of Trujillo, the brutal Dominican dictator whom I'm afraid I never heard of before reading this book. I should read more history. 

The narrator speaks in a seamless blend of Lord of the Rings references, Spanish phrases, and curse words, with a healthy dose of David Foster Wallace-esque footnotes. The story jumps decades and from New Jersey to the Dominican Republic. It's just an excellent read. 

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