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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...



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