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Literary Fiction

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

by Junot Diaz

Quick take

Dude wore his nerdiness like a Jedi wore his light saber or a Lensman her lens. Couldn’t have passed for Normal if he’d wanted to.

Why I love it

Poor Oscar Wao. He will never outgrow his nerdy phase, but it’s a distinct pleasure to trace his life and the life of his extended family up until its premature end. Oscar, a Dominican kid in New Jersey who loves sci-fi and fantasizing about falling in love, is the victim of a fukú (or curse) that has affected his family for generations. Oscar’s family’s story is narrated by Yunior, the type of ...

Synopsis

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from San...

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