The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

After reading This Is How You Lose Her,
the latest book by Pulitzer Prize winner, Junot Diaz, I was hooked on
his innovative writing style and unusual characters. His earlier book, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, is equally stylistic. Yunior, who appears in inter-linking stories in This Is How You Lose Her,
is the narrator of the earlier novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar
. When not the narrator, Yunior is the sex-obsessed Rutgers roommate
of Oscar--a roommate who is a foil for Diaz's anti-hero. Whereas Yunior
is confident, cocky, and highly macho, Oscar is an overweight and
depressed nerd, completely immersed in comic books and fantasy novels.
He compulsively writes in his journals. He has no friends and is
constantly bullied in the college cafeteria. When not living in the
world of Tolkien, Oscar falls in love with unsuitable and unattainable
women, ultimately putting himself in harm's way. Is this Oscar's death
wish or is he simply a foolish romantic who cannot tell fiction from

Like Oscar, Yunior is a writer. And like the
character in This Is How You Lose Her, he is the same womanizer who
cannot be true to the woman he really loves. Only in dreams is he able
to reveal his feelings.

Before all hope died I used to have this stupid dream that
shit could be saved, that we would be in bed together like the old
times, with the fan on, the smoke from our weed drifting above us, and
I'd finally try to say works that could have saved us.

__________ __________ ____________.

But before I can shape the vowels I wake up.  My face is wet, and that's how you know it's never going to come true.

Never, ever. (p. 327)

The Brief Life of Oscar Wao
is far more than the adventures of a maladroit teenager.   The story of
Beli, Oscar's mother, is a tragic immigrant tale. It interweaves the
brutal history of 1940s and 1950s Dominican Republic under the notorious
dictator Rafael Trujillo, all the while, painting a picture of a
colorful and strong woman whose hard life ultimately embitters her.

If you love adventurous writing and unusual characters, Juno Diaz is an author to read, discuss, and enjoy.

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