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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao [Paperback]

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Item Number 392290  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   335
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 5" Height: 1"
Weight:   0.64 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 2, 2008
Publisher   Riverhead Trade
Age  18
ISBN  1594483299  
EAN  9781594483295  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Living with an old-world mother and rebellious sister, an urban New Jersey misfit dreams of becoming the next J. R. R. Tolkien and believes that a long-standing family curse is thwarting his efforts to find love and happiness. A first novel by the author of the collection, Drown. Reprint.

Publishers Description

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who--from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister--dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fuku--a curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere--and risk it all--in the name of love.
Listen to Junot Diaz's interview on iTunes "Meet the Author" here.
Download iTunes here.

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More About Junot Diaz

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Junot Diaz's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best American Short Stories. His highly-anticipated first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was greeted with rapturous reviews, including Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times calling it "a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices." His debut story collection, Drown, published eleven years prior to Oscar Wao, was also met with unprecedented acclaim; it became a national bestseller, won numerous awards, and has since grown into a landmark of contemporary literature. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Diaz lives in New York City and is a professor of creative writing at MIT.

Junot Diaz currently resides in Boston, in the state of Massachusetts. Junot Diaz was born in 1968 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Mass Inst of Technology.

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [78538  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
New classic  Nov 19, 2008
I picked it up based on the hype and while my Spanish is weak I still could follow the flow. The audio version is great as you can hear the sound of the Spanglish.

BTW if you ever doubted that Spanglish is the next hot Vernacular of the street, this book will cure you of that doubt. If you have not been to the Mex border, Fla, or spent time in an NJ city this book will leave you confused by its mix of Spanish and English.

A bigger warning is if you have no background in comics, LTR, and other fanasty classic this will not be an easy read as they are the context for this novel.

Anyone who knows what it was like to discover that books can help you deal with life and was an outsider because you did not run with the street boys this book will touch you deeply as we all are Oscar, some of us just hide it better.
Not So Brief, But Just As Wondrous  Nov 16, 2008
Junot Diaz hammered the nail right on the Dominican head in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. A curse that was born out of love and fear, that follows a family for generations, and ends with tragedy kept me glued to this book (and away from my homework unfortunately). For those who don't like to read subtext (as there are a lot in this book) I'd recommend that you read through it anyways, as the author adds a lot to the background story. Overall, it was well worth the 3 days of reading.
Self-indulgent and throws away its inspirational power  Nov 15, 2008
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is an interesting window into the life of the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, its protagonists are anti-heroes who get carried from one tragedy to another without making the smart choices that would inspire us or make us identify with them. I don't mind a story that ends with a downward turn, if it reveals something about life (Angela's Ashes) or has a clever ending we don't see coming (The Sixth Sense). If the point of the story was to knock down people who glorify an ethnic culture (Absurdistan), I suppose it worked, but I don't get that sense of the author's intent.

I was waiting for that kind of end throughout the long passages where the author self-indulgently reflects on Dominican Republic society, in a manner that suggests there is going to be magic, and then ends up being nothing to learn, nothing changed, nothing noble about the story's characters.

To those who've enjoyed this book I would ask, "What change in your life did this book inspire you to?"

Oh, nothing? I guessed it in one try.

So basically this is a book which is loved by people who confuse a happy ending, poetic justice, or something inspirational as "cheap", "too Hollywood", the same way some women say that "all men" are bad, because they've met a few bad men. Professional book reviewers have often lost touch with what it's like to invest time in a novel and expect to be entertained, educated, and transformed. Goodness no, that would be trite.

It's a fine book (3 out of 5), but the Pulitzer-level hype has gone too far, in my opinion, thus a bit of extra push-back in this review.
One of the best bad novels or one of the worst good ones?  Nov 14, 2008
Part of the pain of this book is realizing that my life was so similar to Oscar's. Diaz is a brilliant writer, juggling historical nonsense, emotionally deformed characters and dense relationships. But at the same time the book has a super heavy feel. Like Oscar himself. And, like Oscar, there's a fundamental question -- sure, it's challenging to try to get at his core, but is it really worth the challenge?

Oscar is a heavyset loser who seems to be going balls out to try to be the biggest (damn pun!) loser he could possibly be. Diaz piles it on with international conspiracy, a no-luck crazy mama and on and on. The instinct is to love the underdog. But, hell, who wasn't an underdog at that age? Why can't Oscar belittle other people until he feels better about himself like I did?

Having said that, well, you know, it's good. So I gave it 4 stars.
Joys, suffering, fears and passions  Nov 12, 2008
This is a terrific book. I'm not usually so colloquial in my reviews, but "terrific" suits the complete lack of pretense in this book. Oscar Wao is a wonderful portrait of Dominican life. Junot Dias's language is filled with love for life, in all its joys, suffering, fears and passion. His language is a rich landscape for the reader to traverse. His protagonists experience the world in vivid, at times unbearable technicolor. The story itself becomes almost background music for the vibrant people who inhabit it. In short, you'll feel wonderfully surrounded by Hispanic, and particularly Dominican, life as you read this book.

I listened to Oscar Wao unabridged on audio CD, narrated by Jonathan Davis and Staci Snell. Both do a fine job portraying the emotion and sensitivity of the characters, voiced in Spanish-accented English that adds a musical lilt to the narrative.

This audio CD also included "Drown", Dias' short story collection, narrated by Jonathan Davis. The collection is another highly enjoyable immersion in Dominican story and culture, filled with a library of rich images.

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