Christopher Tayler is impressed by Junot Díaz’s ingenious first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. In “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Díaz, the author of a book of sexy, diamond-sharp stories called “Drown,” shows impressive. Winner of: The Pulitzer Prize The National Book Critics Circle Award The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award The Jon Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize A Time Magazine.

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Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. Oscar, still dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim—until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere—and to risk it all—in the name of love.

It is a joy to read, and every bit as exhilarating to reread. The New Yorker placed him on a list of the twenty top writers for the twenty-first century. What is the effect of this seamless blending of Spanish and English?

The book centers on the story of Oscar and his family—and yet the majority of the book is narrated by Yunior, who is not part of the family, and only plays a relatively minor role in the events of the story.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz – Reading Guide – : Books

What is the effect of having a relative outsider tell the story of Oscar and his family, rather than having someone in the family tell it?

Why do you think he chose to convey historical facts and anecdotes in footnote form? How would the novel have read differently if the content of the footnotes had been integrated into the main text? What if the footnotes and the information in them had been eliminated altogether? In many ways, Yunior and Oscar are polar opposites. While Yunior can get as many women as he wants, he seems to have little capacity for fidelity or true love.


Oscar, by contrast, holds love above all else—and yet cannot find a girlfriend no matter how hard he tries. Or are they actually more alike than they seem on the surface?

How else could we have survived what we survived? What does he mean by that? Was that his method of coping? Yunior characterizes himself as oscad super macho, womanizing jock-type—and yet in wondrohs the book, his writing is riddled with reference to nerdy topics like the Fantastic Four and Lord of the Rings.

In other words, there seems to be a schism between Yunior the character and Yunior the writer. Why do you think that is?

For Oscar, his obsession with oscaar and science fiction becomes isolating, separating him from his peers so much so that he almost cannot communicate with them—as if he speaks a different language and at one point he actually speaks in Elvish.

How are other characters in the oscaar instance, Belicia growing up in the Dominican Republic, or Abelard under the dictatorship of Trujillo, similarly isolated? And how are their forms of isolation different?

Later [Lola would] want to put that on his gravestone but no one would let her, not even me. Did it actually make the book more suspenseful, knowing that Oscar was going to die? In one of the footnotes the narrator posits that writers and dictators are not simply natural antagonists, as Salman Rushdie has said, but are actually in competition with one another because they are essentially in the same business p.

How can a writer be a kind of dictator? Is the telling of a story somehow inherently tyrannical? The author, the primary narrator, and the protagonist of the book are all male, but some of the strongest characters and voices in the book Wonerous Inca, Belicia, Lola are female. Who do you think makes the strongest, boldest decisions in the book? Given the machismo and swagger of the narrative voice, how does the author express the strength of the female characters?


Do you think there is an intentional comment in the contrast between that masculine voice and the strong female characters? There are a few chapters in wondrius book in which Lola takes over the narration and tells her story in her own words. Why do you think it is important to the novel to let Lola have a chance to speak for herself?

How much of her own story do you think Belicia shared with her children? The image of a mongoose with ov eyes and the a man without a face appear at critical moments and to various characters throughout the book. What do these images represent?

Ujnot they do appear, do you think you are supposed to take them literally?

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

For instance, did you believe that a mongoose appeared to Belicia and spoke to her? Did she believe it? Who do you consider the true protagonist of the novel? The entire de Leon and Cabral family? In the end, do you think Oscar is heroic or foolish? And are those other oscae Inca, Abelard—more or less heroic than Oscar? During the course of the book, many of the characters try to teach Oscar many things—especially Yunior, who tries to teach him how to lose weight, how to attract women, how to oecar in social situations.

Do any characters not try to teach Oscar anything, and just accept him as who bbrief is? How much does Oscar actually learn from anyone? And in the end, what does Oscar teach Yunior, and the other characters if anything? LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Read it Forward Read it first. Stay in Touch Sign up. We are experiencing technical difficulties.

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