Magnificent Marvel Supersale




The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

We're All Fukú'd

A review by Allison Glock

Junot Díaz isn't messing around.

Yunior -- the narrator of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao -- he is messing around. With women, with drugs, with his future, something both uncertain and fated.

Through Yunior we learn of Oscar Wao's exquisitely damned immigrant family. We also learn of the so-called fukú curse they can't escape. It's a curse of your people, of love, of New Jersey. The curse that brought down longtime Dominican dictator Trujillo and JFK alike. And the curse that brings down Oscar -- a nerdy fatboy, disparaged and done for by age seven, the one Dominican teenager in all New Jersey who can't lose his virginity.

Like his shattering 1996 debut collection, Drown, Díaz's first novel is dense and thick, teeming with observations stacked tight like staples. From Santo Domingo to Paterson, New Jersey, from cane fields to college, Díaz mashes up history and modernity as we follow the doomed fate of Oscar's family. Magical realism and animal guides find a home...

Previously Reviewed by Esquire
Sort: by date | by title | by author

Conned: How Millions Went to Prison, Lost the Vote, and Helped Send George W. Bush to the White House by Sasha Abramsky

Harbor by Lorraine Adams

The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World by Ken Alder

Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope by Tariq Ali

Mere Anarchy by Woody Allen

House of Meetings by Martin Amis

Yellow Dog by Martin Amis

West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story by Tamim Ansary

The Headmaster Ritual by Taylor Antrim

Articles of War by Nick Arvin

Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson

The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw

The Complete Works of Isaac Babel by Isaac Babel

A Box of Matches by Nicholson Baker

Vanished Splendors a Memoir by Balthus

The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes

Kosmos: A Portrait of the Russian Space Age by Adam Bartos

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb

Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City by Neal Bascomb

The Hermit's Story by Rick Bass

Thanksgiving Night: A Novel by Richard Bausch

Widower's House: A Study in Bereavement or How Margot and Mella Forced Me to Flee My Home by John Bayley

In Praise of Nepotism: A Natural History by Adam Bellow

Willful Creatures: Stories by Aimee Bender

Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama Bin Laden by Peter L. Bergen

Selected Essays of John Berger by John Berger

In the Land of Magic Soldiers: A Story of White and Black in West Africa by Daniel Bergner

Bernard of Hollywood Ultimate Pin-Up Book by Susan Bernard

Natasha: And Other Stories by David Bezmozgis

The Year Is '42 by Nella Bielski

American Gothic: A Life of America's Most Famous Painting by Steven Biel

The Torturer's Apprentice: Stories by John Biguenet

Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film by Peter Biskind

The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany by David Blackbourn

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black

Hamlet: Poem Unlimited by Harold Bloom

The Clinton Wars by Sidney Blumenthal

The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano

The Mystery Guest: An Account by Gregoire Bouillier

A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain

This Must Be the Place: The Adventures of Talking Heads in the Twentieth Century by David Bowman

Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle

It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium: Football and the Game of Life by John Ed Bradley

The Secret Paris of the '30s by Brassai

The Brief History of the Dead: A Novel by Kevin Brockmeier

Her Majesty's Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage by Stephen Budiansky

The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal by Daniel Bukszpan

Crusader's Cross: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) by James Lee Burke

Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

Winslow in Love by Kevin Canty

Theft: A Love Story by Peter Carey

Five Skies: A Novel by Ron Carlson

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter

Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Other Prose by Raymond Carver

Strangers' Gate by Tom Casey

The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen

Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy

Finn: A Novel by Jon Clinch

Journals by Kurt Cobain

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Slow Man by J M Coetzee

Elizabeth Costello by J. M. Coetzee

The Closers (Harry Bosch) by Michael Connelly

The Closers (Harry Bosch) by Michael Connelly

Big If by Mark Costello

Genesis by Jim Crace

The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq by John F. Crawford

Prey (02 Edition) by Michael Crichton

The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin

In the Land of Pain by Alphonse Daudet

Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time by David Edmonds and John Eidinow

Rust and Bone: Stories by Craig Davidson

Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis

Dead Cities and Other Tales by Mike Davis

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton

The Vagabonds: A Novel by Nicholas Delbanco

Falling Man: A Novel by Don DeLillo

The Body Artist by Don DeLillo

American Sucker by David Denby

Train Signed 1st Edition by Pete Dexter

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Voices from the Street by Philip K. Dick

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Where I Was From by Joan Didion

The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky: A True Story by Ken Dornstein

The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 by Dinesh D'Souza

Johnny Too Bad: Stories by John Dufresne

I Sailed with Magellan by Stuart Dybek

Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It by Geoff Dyer

Kornwolf (06 Edition) by Tristan Egolf

Cary Grant: A Biography by Marc Eliot

Looking Forward to It: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Electoral Process by Stephen Elliott

Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis

Crooked Little Vein: A Novel by Warren Ellis

The Ministry of Special Cases: A Novel by Nathan Englander

Hollywood Animal: A Memoir by Joe Eszterhas

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys by Peter Evans

Hello to All That: A Memoir of War, Zoloft, and Peace by John Falk

The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman

Guston in Time: Remembering Philip Guston by Ross Feld

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael Finkel

Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish by Richard Flanagan

The Lay of the Land 1st Edition by Richard Ford

The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe by Paula Fox

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History by Jonathan Franzen

Thirteen Moons: A Novel by Charles Frazier

The Fish's Eye: Essays about Angling and the Outdoors by Ian Frazier

On the Rez by Ian Frazier

The Dissident: A Novel by Nell Freudenberger

My Friend Leonard by James Frey

Veronica: A Novel by Mary Gaitskill

Memories of My Melancholy Whores: A Novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Stars Above Veracruz by Barry Gifford

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Bad News of the Heart (Canadian Literature Series) by Douglas H. Glover

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold

Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: A Memoir by David Goodwillie

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt

The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer

Signal & Noise by John Griesemer

No One Thinks of Greenland by John Griesemer

The Summons by John Grisham

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

JFK, Nixon, Oliver Stone and Me: An Idealist's Journey from Capitol Hill to Hollywood Hell by Eric Hamburg

Moth Smoke : a Novel (00 Edition) by Mohsin Hamid

Yonder Stands Your Orphan (01 Edition) by Barry Hannah

Cute, Quaint, Hungry and Romantic : the Aesthetics of Consumerism (00 Edition) by Daniel Harris

Envy: A Novel by Kathryn Harrison

American Purgatorio by John Haskell

The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard

The Pacific and Other Stories by Mark Helprin

Nowhere Man by Aleksandar Hemon

Pike's Folly by Mike Heppner

Ticknor by Sheila Heti

All Yesterdays' Parties: The Velvet Underground in Print, 1966-1971 by Clinton Heylin

The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century by Tony (edt) Hillerman

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

Nutcracker 1st Edition by E T A Hoffmann

Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz

A Thousand Splendid Suns: A Novel by Khaled Hosseini

We Pierce by Andrew Huebner

Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America by Arianna Huffington

Goya by Robert Hughes

Young Men on Fire by Howard Hunt

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt

Kings of Infinite Space: A Novel by James Hynes

The Making of Henry by Howard Jacobson

Whirlwind by Michael Grant Jaffe

Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer by Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap

Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer by Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap

The Bridegroom by Ha Jin

The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, And Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It by John Miller and Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell

Emporium: Stories by Adam Johnson

Tree of Smoke: A Novel by Denis Johnson

The Effect of Living Backwards by Heidi Julavits

The Commissariat of Enlightenment by Ken Kalfus

A Disorder Peculiar to the Country: A Novel by Ken Kalfus

When I Was Cool: My Life at the Jack Kerouac School by Sam Kashner

Ridiculous!: The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam by David Kaufman

Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz

A Simple Twist of Fate: Bob Dylan and the Making of Blood on the Tracks by Kevin Odegard and Andy Gill

1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol, and the Birth of Post-Sixties America by Andreas Killen

From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

The Unbinding: A Novel by Walter Kirn

The Cottagers: A Novel by Marshall N. Klimasewiski

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance by Matthew Kneale

With Love and Squalor: 14 Writers Respond to the Work of J.D. Salinger by Kip Kotzen

Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss

Last One In (P.S.) by Nicholas Kulish

Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel

The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru

1968: The Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky

James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights (Pivotal Moments in American History) by Richard Labunski

The Strangler by William Landay

A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America by Elinor Langer

Lost Echoes (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) by Joe R. Lansdale

Collected Poems by Philip Larkin

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

Comrades in Miami (Havana World) by Jose Latour

The Mission Song by John le Carre

Absolute Friends by John le Carré

Aloft by Chang Rae Lee

You Don't Love Me Yet Signed 1st Edition by Jonathan Lethem

The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

The King Is Dead by Jim Lewis

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

Here Kitty Kitty: A Novel by Jardine Libaire

The Subject Steve by Sam Lipsyte

Home Land by Sam Lipsyte

People Life After Dark by Roxanne Lowit

Looking Good: Male Body Image in Modern America by Lynne Luciano

My Little Blue Dress by Bruno Maddox

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler

The Preservationist by David Maine

Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads by Greil Marcus

Merry Christmas! (00 Edition) by Karal Ann Marling

Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The War Against Cliché by Martin Amis

The Virgin's Guide to Mexico: A Novel by Eric B. Martin

Some Great Thing by Colin McAdam

The Gutter and the Grave (Hard Case Crime) by Ed McBain

Dancer by Colum McCann

No Country for Old Men 1st Edition by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Remainder (Vintage Originals) by Tom McCarthy

John Adams by David McCullough

On Chesil Beach: A Novel by Ian McEwan

The Cadence of Grass by Thomas Mcguane

Gallatin Canyon: Stories by Thomas McGuane

Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker by James McManus

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears: A Novel by Dinaw Mengestu

The Optimists by Andrew Miller

Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War by Judith Miller

Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography by William Lee Miller

The Tender Bar: A Memoir by J. R. Moehringer

The Killing Jar: A Novel by Nicola Monaghan

Now You See It...: Stories from Cokesville, Pa by Bathsheba Monk

'57, Chicago by Steve Monroe

The Black Veil by Rick Moody

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America by Cullen Murphy

Borkmann's Point: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery by Hakan Nesser

The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done by Sandra Newman

Dick: The Man Who Is President by John Nichols

Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates

Personality by Andrew O'Hagan

Walking into the Night by Olaf Olafsson

Yes, Yes, Cherries: Stories by Mary Otis

Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick

Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk

Stranger than Fiction 1st Edition by Chuck Palahniuk

Haunted: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk

The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake by Breece D'j Pancake

The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq by Christian Parenti

Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks

Violence, Nudity, Adult Content 1st Edition by Vince Passaro

The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes and Striped Fabric by Michel Pastoureau

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

Polar by T R Pearson

Glad News of the Natural World by T R Pearson

The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure: Stories by Jack Pendarvis

Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman

Little Children by Tom Perrotta

Out Stealing Horses: A Novel by Per Petterson

Prague by Arthur Phillips

The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips

My Cold War by Tom Piazza

Home Remedies (Harvest Original) by Angela Pneuman

The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan

Surveillance: A Novel by Jonathan Raban

A Primitive Heart: Stories by David Rabe

Saints at the River by Ron Rash

Coltrane: The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff

President Nixon: Alone in the White House by Richard Reeves

State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration by James Risen

Officer Friendly and Other Stories by Lewis Robinson

Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson

White Christmas: The Story of an American Song by Jody Rosen

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Everyman by Philip Roth

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein

Facing the Wind: A True Story of Tragedy and Reconciliation by Julie Salamon

Cold Skin by Alber Sanchez Pinol

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders

In Persuasion Nation: Stories by George Saunders

A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Stacy Schiff

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market by Eric Schlosser

Tourmaline by Joanna Scott

Liberation by Joanna Scott

Strange but True by John Searles

Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald

Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield

Project X by Jim Shepard

Enough about You: Adventures in Autobiography by David Shields

J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century by T. A. Shippey

The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart

Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West by Hampton Sides

Faithful by Davitt Sigerson

Dark Light: Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-Ray by Linda Simon

Novel by George Singleton

Hamlet's Dresser: A Memoir by Bob Smith

The Ruins: A Novel by Scott Smith

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

Before: A Novel by Irini Spanidou

Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta

Lightning Field by Dana Spiotta

36 Yalta Boulevard by Olen Steinhauer

Liberation Movements by Olen Steinhauer

Bay of Souls by Robert Stone

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations by James Surowiecki

Jarhead Signed 1st Edition by Anthony Swofford

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

River of No Reprieve: Descending Siberia's Waterway of Exile, Death, and Destiny by Jeffrey Tayler

The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken by Terry Teachout

Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age by The Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts

Television by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

The Best People in the World: A Novel by Justin Tussing

The Diary of Adam and Eve: and Other Adamic Stories (Hesperus Press) by Mark Twain

Working Fire: The Making of an Accidental Fireman by Zac Unger

Things in the Night by Mati Unt

Villages by John Updike

Terrorist: A Novel by John Updike

Self-Made Man: One Woman's Journey Into Manhood and Back Again by Norah Vincent

Poor People by William T. Vollmann

Memorial: A Novel by Bruce Wagner

The Chrysanthemum Palace: A Novel by Bruce Wagner

I'll Let You Go by Bruce Wagner

The Housekeeper by Melanie Wallace

The Devil's Feather: A Novel by Minette Walters

Searching for Hassan: An American Family's Journey Home to Iran by Terence Ward

The Ice Soldier: A Novel by Paul Watkins

The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs Signed Edition by Irvine Welsh

Apex Hides the Hurt: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

My Mentor: A Young Man's Friendship with William Maxwell by Alec Wilkinson

Jenny and the Jaws of Life: Short Stories by Jincy Willett

Back to the Miracle Factory: Rock Etc. 1990s by Paul Williams

Oh the Glory of It All by Sean Wilsey

The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester

Laughing Gas (36 Edition) by P.g. Wodehouse

Laughing Gas (36 Edition) by P.g. Wodehouse

Old School by Tobias Wolff

The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel by James Wood

The Book Against God by James Wood

Canaan's Tongue by John Wray

The Amalgamation Polka by Stephen Wright

More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Click here to subscribeSubscribe to Esquire and Save 75%

Get 12 fantastic issues of Esquire magazine for only $8. The best culture, entertainment, style, financial advice, women and more delivered right to your door every month ? at an incredible 81% savings off the newsstand price! What could be better... or easier?

Click here to subscribe now! spacer

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at