Thursday, 3 October 2013

Book #54 The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao

Length Of Time In Possession : 10 months (Part Of A Blogging Good Read

For a brief period when he was in kindergarten Oscar was a hit with the ladies, but that quickly died away, until he grew up to be a fat, lonely, socially outcast virgin with dreams of being Tolkien.

The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao examines Oscar's life from four angles, his own story, that of his sister, that of her ex boyfriend (his college roommate) and the background of his mother and how she came to the USA from the Dominican Republic.

I have never read any novel related to the Dominican Republic before so it was original and refreshing to me from that angle. On the whole it was well written but it seemed to me that the parts that were best written were the ones that were not about Oscar. His room-mate's sense of guilt, frustration and responsibility, his mother's life as the orphaned daughter in Santo Domingo, and his sisters retreat there during her adolescence were all far more interesting to me than that of Oscar, the geeky outcast whose story feels like a well worn one, covered in a variety of storytelling.     

Particularly in the stories of Oscar and his mother, I felt a sense of compassion fatigue, it seems to me that of late what it takes for a work of literature to be considered worthy of note is for the protagonists lives to be as unrelentingly bleak and dissatisfactory as possible. 

In addition, I didn't really particularly like any of the main characters, not even Oscar himself, perhaps actually, especially not Oscar. I found the motivations for his sisters ex boyfriends behaviour later on in the novel lacking in credibility and I also found the curse angle similarly lacking.

It is a good novel but it is not without faults, there is a tendency to use Spanish without giving the reader a translation, which frustrates and ultimately it was not all that memorable to me.

Verdict 8/10

Destination : Charity Shop

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