Monday, April 20, 2009

New Book

The book I had been waiting for finally was returned to the public library. FINALLY! "The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao" has been keeping me good company lately. I look forward to ending the day with it in bed with my dog.

I was a little confused at first -- because it seems that every chapter of the book is written in a different voice, and it's not always apparent who that voice is at first. Later on I realize it's his college roommate, Yunior, who is the narrator most of the time -- but not until the middle of the book. But once you get past it and just listen to the story it doesn't matter too much. I may even have to read Junot Diaz's other book "Drown" when I'm done. I love finding new authors to book-stalk!

I have not read a lot of fiction out of the Caribbean, where half of this book is set, so it's really interesting to learn about the history of the Dominican Republic -- things I didn't learn while growing up in New England believe it or not.
Díaz’s novel also has a wild, capacious spirit, making it feel much larger than it is. Within its relatively compact span, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” contains an unruly multitude of styles and genres. The tale of Oscar’s coming-of-age is in some ways the book’s thinnest layer, a young-adult melodrama draped over a multigenerational immigrant family chronicle that dabbles in tropical magic realism, punk-rock feminism, hip-hop machismo, post-postmodern pyrotechnics and enough polymorphous multiculturalism to fill up an Introduction to Cultural Studies syllabus. -- from The New York Times book review
I'm half way through and I know that Oscar dies in the end and I am so rooting for him that I'm afraid when it happens I'll be devastated. I'll let you know how he goes...

1 comment:

Mike Blair said...

Yeah, my school left out almost all details on the DR and its dictator, Trujillo, even though some of my school was contemporary with his reign of terror. In those days, only Castro was the dictator-in-the-back-yard most U.S. schools mentioned. Have you read either THE HANDSOMEST MAN IN CUBA: An Escapade, by Lynette Chiang, a sturdy Australian woman who toured Cuba solo on a bicycle or WHEN IT SNOWS IN HAVANA (think that's the title) by a boy who grew up in Cuba but left in the big airlift of the 60s? Both Cuba and the DR sound like beautiful places. Mike