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August's Book: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Friday, August 16, 2013

Our August Book Club selection is Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Oscar is sweet but extremely overweight ghetto nerd from New Jersey who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, above all, finding love. The novel also tells a multi-generational tale of  Dominican immigrants in America. Writing in the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani described it as “Mario Vargas Llosa meets “Star Trek” meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West.” Pick it up now and tune in August 16, when Junot Diaz discusses it with Leonard.

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Junot Diaz
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Comments [11]

Ben Pogue from lake worth florida

....Read "Oscar Wao" right after reading "Feast of the Goat", purely by accident, (had found both in dumpsters behind different book outlets in affluent neighborhoods of south Florida, both stores seem to dump their advanced copies) .....extremely impressed. As for Latin authors, if there subject has direct roots in central, south america, the Caribbean, i seek them out. Edwige Danticat has expanded my interest in the Caribbean, my desire to know my Haitian neighbors better.....

Aug. 19 2013 12:07 PM
Myriam Alvarez from NJ

I'm a Latina writer and journalist. I just published my first book called Flowers in the Dust, a historical novel that takes place in Latin America. Hispanic readers are becoming more important and yet it seems to me that the publishing industry is not paying much attention to this group. What can be done by Latin authors to change this?

Aug. 16 2013 05:23 PM

"Toxic, anti-Latino rhetoric", etc.?

There are any number of legitimate concerns related to immigration. Holding a restrictive view on it, regardless of the merits of such a position itself, hardly makes one "anti-Latino" or "hateful".

Shame on Mr. Diaz for such simplistic, demagogic rhetoric. And shame on Mr. Lopate for not only allowing it to go unchallenged but effectively endorsing it and engaging the same himself (on numerous occasions).

Aug. 16 2013 01:02 PM
ellen from north jersey

could you ask Junot to say something about his concept of 'Marti Mind'?

Aug. 16 2013 12:52 PM
Steve Quester from Brooklyn, NY

Leonard, can you ask Junot Diaz about Edwige Danticat's Farming of Bones? I first learned of the Parsley Massacre in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and it's the subject of Danticat's book.

Aug. 16 2013 12:44 PM
John from office

I share Mr. Diaz's background and have met him and admire and/or envy him. His book Drowned is a great collection of short stories. I was born in San Jose De Ocoa and loved the story called Ocoa. I came to the USA as a baby and am an American. Dominicans have a special experience in the USA because we are neither white nor black and don't easily fit in to the racial boxs that exist.

Interested readers should read Piri Thomas's Down These Mean Streets, if you want to read about an even earlier hispanic experience in NYC.

Aug. 16 2013 07:03 AM
Roy from Queens

"Oscar Wao" is a brilliant book because, like Colson Whitehead' s "Sag Harbor", it destroys the notion that nerdiness/geekiness isn't monopolized by white and Asian males. Mr. Diaz, do you think the stigma of being a "blerd" (an African-American or Hispanic person who's smart and has a strong love for fanboy culture) is disappearing or not? I, being a "blerd", think it is, yet slowly. Besides, in the 21st century, a black or brown man is better off being smart and college-educated than being a high school dropout.

Aug. 14 2013 05:42 PM
Teri

I really enjoyed this book for a while...however having arrived at page 120, I am wondering what is the point...Is it a veiled history of the revolution in D.R.? It seems so due to the lengths of footnotes explaining the backdrop of the narrative. I wonder how I would feel about the story if I neglected to read them. Maybe I will try that....Maybe I will really miss the point. I'll stick with it and find out.

Aug. 12 2013 11:58 AM
Robin

I am such a fan after reading this book! And as an alumni of Rutgers, I really felt a special connection to the story. I wonder what kind of experience easing this was for someone who wasn't privy to these references. All of it was just that more vivid and realistic. And so enjoyable.

Aug. 07 2013 08:50 PM
Lisa from NJ

I LOVED this book! I was at first annoyed then appreciative of the fact that he didn't have a glossary of Spanish words, what was his thinking behind that?

Aug. 07 2013 03:23 PM
Danièle Collignon from New York City

I am a writer interested in taking Mr. Junot Diaz class - as I have read that he teaches in NYC.
Can you give me details about this?
I am a devoted admirer of his books and want to learn from him and will listen to Leonard Lopade show on 7/16!!
Thank you.
Danièle Collignon

Aug. 05 2013 03:12 PM

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