Heartbreaking, gripping, and unlike anything else I've ever read - an odd mix of Spanish slang and sci-fi references that detail the life story of not only Oscar, but his sister, mother, adoptive grandmother, grandparents, aunts, friend and sometimes boyfriend of his sister, and the Dominican Republic while under Trujillo's dictatorship.
I have to say, geek that I am, I got pretty much all the sci-fi references sprinkled throughout the book. I have a little Spanish and was able to understand some of the phrases, if only by context alone. But a few references escaped me, and I found a website called http://www.annotated-oscar-wao.com/ invaluable for those.
A difficult read at times, due to both writing style and content, but worth reading.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a little hard to follow the narrators, as they shifted, and I can't imagine reading it without a working knowledge of Spanish--you could either skip it, and lose a little context, or keep a dictionary by your side, but the story was great, as was the writing.
I read This is How You Lose Her two years ago when it first came out, and I loved it so since then I've wanted to read The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz' most acclaimed and famous work. Oscar Wao did not disappoint me. It was so smooth and well written-- it took me about 30 pages in to realize that there were no quotation marks. Also I love multi-generational stories, and this one delivers with common motifs and themes throughout. It's a pretty amazing book. The reason why I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the pacing wasn't the best in some areas, and sometimes the writing style was a bit grating
I like the fast pace & the dialogue of this book. The narrator is hip and uses Dominican slang. It's a kind of a comic-tragedy type story. Oscar is sort of a sap.
I found myself bedazzled from the very first page by Diaz' remarkable prose. These are among the most dynamic prose of our century ... and perhaps any century. Diaz' prose take wondrous leaps and abysmal dives into rich meaning and provocative literary nuances. And then they can be so simple as to capture a cultural utterance that might knock the reader out of her chair. Fabulous.
Diaz' weaving of a fascinating curse, a hopeless nerd in America, and the tragic yet spellbinding life under Trujillo in Santo Domingo make for an unforgettable and powerful novel. We follow Oscar's ominous family history and the author does impressive work of interlacing that history into Oscar's modern writhing for an American identity. We all know where the story ends, but that takes nothing away from the deeply talented telling of it: we must know how it happened. So nice to see a modern Pulitzer winner with a noticeable plot!