The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao


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 fukú—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.



“An extraordinarily vibrant book that’s fueled by adrenaline-powered prose…[Junot Díaz has] written a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction’s most distinctive and irresistible new voices.”
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

“Díaz finds a miraculous balance. He cuts his barnburning comic-book plots (escape, ruin, redemption) with honest, messy realism, and his narrator speaks in a dazzling hash of Spanish, English, slang, literary flourishes, and pure virginal dorkiness.”
—Sam Anderson, New York Magazine

“Genius…a story of the American experience that is giddily glorious and hauntingly horrific…That Díaz’s novel is also full of ideas, that [the narrator’s] brilliant talking rivals the monologues of Roth’s Zuckerman—in short, that what he has produced is a kick-ass (and truly, that is the just word for it) work of modern fiction—all make The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao something exceedingly rare: a book in which a new America can recognize itself, but so can everyone else.”
—Oscar Villalon, San Francisco Chronicle

“Astoundingly great.”
—Lev Grossman, Time

“Superb, deliciously casual and vibrant, shot through with wit and insight. The great achievemet of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is Díaz’s ability to balance an intimate multigenerational story of familial tragedy…The past and present remain equally in focus, equally immediate, and Díaz’s acrobatic prose toggles artfully between realities, keeping us entralled with all.”
The Boston Globe

“Panoramic and yet achingly personal. It’s impossible to categorize, which is a good thing. Díaz’s novel is a hell of a book. It doesn’t care about categories.”
Los Angeles Times

“Díaz’s writing is unruly, manic, seductive…In Díaz’s landscape we are all the same, victims of a history and a present that doesn’t just bleed together but stew. Often in hilarity. Mostly in heartbreak.”

“Díaz made us wait eleven years for this first novel and boom – it’s over just like that. It’s not a bad gambit, to always leave your audience wanting more. So brief and wondrous, this life of Oscar. Wow.”
The Washington Post Book World

“Terrific…High-energy…It is a joy to read, and every bit as exhilarating to reread.”
—Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly