The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: Junot Diaz

This book came highly recommended by a few friends and the critics reviews I’ve seen have been pretty much universally rapturous so I approached The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao with high hopes. It has all the elements of a book I would typically love- a family saga set against the backdrop of dramatic historical events (in this case the dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic), characters wrestling with their racial/ gender/ sexual identities, a quirky writing syle. And I did get into it very quickly. I liked the narrative voice littered with sci-fi/ fantasy references and Dominican slang some of which (both the references and the slang) I got, a lot of which I didn’t and just had to let wash over me. However, for some reason it just didn’t maintain my enthusiasm all the way through. Whereas at the start I sympathised with Oscar, an overweight geek desperate to be loved, as the book progressed I began to find him irritating and in the end, downright stupid.

3.5 stars


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