The titular Oscar is a 300-pound-plus "lovesick ghetto nerd" with zero game (except for Dungeons & Dragons) who cranks out pages of fantasy fiction with the hopes of becoming a Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien. The book is also the story of a multi-generational family curse that courses through the book, leaving troubles and tragedy in its wake.
Pages: 335 (paperback)
Rating: 8 out of 10
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz is an incredible book! It was the December selection for the Partners of Professor book club. Even though I had not finished the book in time for our meeting, I was excited to keep reading. I learned a lot about the political history of the Dominican Republican. During our discussion, we commented on how the romantic relationships were twisted. To every character, except Oscar, sex was a conquest and being in a monogamous relationship was something for losers.
I loved the relationship between Oscar and Lola. They were siblings who were tied together through family ties. I also loved how kind Lola was to Oscar and tried to look out for him.
Another thing which ties the characters together is the quest to find meaning and answers. In particular Oscar searches for love and the reason behind his family's curse. One of my favorite quotes is related to Lola's daughter.
"One day she will stop being afraid and start looking for answers."
Each character has a point where he/she starts looking for answers. The process and consequences of the search are what drives the story. The only thing I had a hard time with was the Spanish and the cultural references. I did not get all of them and having more footnotes may have helped.
I am counting the book toward the Orbis Terrarum challenge. The author was born in the Dominican Republic.