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Our next book club pick is The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, and it was my nomination!
CONFESSION: When I interviewed Junot Díaz in June at BEA (Book Expo America, for non-book industry folks), I had not read anything that he'd written. I knew, of course that he'd written a book that had won the Pulitzer Prize and was read highly among hipsters and intellectuals. I knew that he was coming out with a new book in the fall called This Is How You Lose Her that had a beautiful video game-esque cover.
I ended up reading the books out of order. I read This Is How You Lose Her before Brief, Wondrous Life.
Now, it's not as though This Is How You Lose Her is a sequel to Brief, Wondrous Life. But they are narrated by the same person.
I really wish I'd read "Brief, Wondrous Life" before I read Díaz's upcoming novel. That is part of the reason I picked this book. "Brief, Wondrous Life" is essentially a primer to what you get with "This Is How You Lose Her." If you haven't read it, you must do so before you embark on his upcoming novel!
The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is about a nerdy Dominican kid who grows up in New Jersey. It is narrated by a cool, older Domincan guy who interjects slang, Spanish, cursing into the otherwise beautiful prose. I absolutely loved this juxtaposition while reading. It might seem like it wouldn't work, but just wait until you read the book.
I cried during the final chapters of this book, and decided that it was essential that I take a trip with one of my best childhood friends to Latin America (admittedly, I was also slightly intoxicated).
As a reader can ascertain from the title, our main character, Oscar, dies an untimely death. That is no secret, even from the beginning. The novel is heart-wrenching, but it also manages to be hilarious.
I hope you'll read along with us. Even if you hate Junot Díaz's work, you must admit that it leaves lots to be talked about.
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