2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
2008 Morning News Tournament of Books Winner
Synopses & Reviews
The most talked about — and praised — first novel of 2007, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who, from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister, dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fuk — a curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA.
Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere — and risk it all — in the name of love.
"A rich, impassioned vision of the Dominican Republic and its diaspora, filtered through the destiny of a single family.... DÃaz's reverse family saga, crossed with withering political satire, makes for a compelling, sex-fueled, 21st-century tragi-comedy with a magical twist." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"It's been 11 years since Junot Diaz published his acclaimed story collection, Drown, and he has spent the time well, honing the sharp, slangy voice that propels his terrific first novel....A joy to read, and every bit as exhilerating to reread. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"Writing in a combustible mix of slang and lyricism, Diaz loops back and forth in time and place, generating sly and lascivious humor in counterpoint to tyranny and sorrow." Booklist
"Told in blinkingly kinetic prose, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz's dazzling debut novel, fulfills the promise of this writer's short story collection (Drown) and fully reveals a powerful presence in moden American fiction." Cathleen Medwick, O: The Oprah Magazine
"A book so astoundingly great that in a fall crowded with heavyweights Richard Russo, Philip Roth, Nick Hornby, Tom Perotta Diaz is a good bet to run away with the field." Lev Grossman, Critical Mass
"[A] wondrous, not-so-brief first novel that is so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets 'Star Trek' meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West. It is funny, street-smart and keenly observed.... [Diaz has] written a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"[A] hell of a book." Los Angeles Times
"[A] colorful and complex portrait of mad love, old-world superstition, and the continual strivings of a diaspora." Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Junot Diaz's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best American Short Stories. His debut story collection, Drown, was a publishing sensation of unprecedented acclaim, became a national bestseller, won numerous awards, and is now a landmark of contemporary literature. He was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and now lives in New York City and Boston, where he teaches at MIT.