Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Just finished reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Wow.  Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize, and an amazing story. 

The fuku have cursed his family for at least three generations, bringing incredible pain and suffering that starts under the "kleptocracy" of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in the 40's.  DR decades later is still corrupt, a place of terrible violence in the canefields.

Oscar's curse is to be obese, to suffer unrequited love, and potentially die a virgin - this is no laughing matter and brings him to the edge of suicide more than once.  His tenacity is fierce, he keeps trying.   This is no happily-ever-after love story, but in the end he does succeed, "So this is what everybody's always talking about!  Diablo!  If I'd only known.  The beauty! The beauty!"

Echoes of Marquez and Llosa, with liberal Spanish peppered throughout.

"It sounds like the most unlikely load of jiringonza on this side of the Sierra Madre."

Context speaks volumes, but still  a translation/phrasebook at the back of the book would have made it a bit more accessible.  Jian Ghomeshi asked Diaz about this and he was unapologetic, saying if people want to know they can go and find out for themselves.  If I had read an eBook connected to the Internet, I could have linked back and forth between Babblefish, maybe even getting the pronunciation, and flaunt the phrases español.

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