Book Club: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

It’s been a busy week, so I’m a week late in writing up the latest book club selection, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Despite the fact that I know almost no Spanish, I did not find the frequent passages in that language to be distracting — like Michael Chabon’s book, this simply made the voice seem more authentic. Choosing to make Oscar an overweight, D&D playing, nerdy budding sci-fi writer was a great choice (speaking of busting stereotypes about Latino males). Although I wish more time had been spent on Oscar, the multiple stories of the various family members were fascinating and compelling. As with just about any novel we read that’s set outside of North America, I feel a need to get up to speed on the history and geography of the region (at least I can find the DR on a map, I think).

One club member did find the profanity and frequent use of the N-word off-putting (she is Jamaican of English descent). I think Diaz is able to get away with it but I do see how some readers would find it a turn-off.

Finally — the meal. Instead of our usual trip to a local restaurant, Jill cooked us a great brunch at her home using her great collection of fine china (“finer things” club indeed!)

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