Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Díaz, Junot (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)

There's just too much to say about this book. In actual fact, there's too much to complain about with this book.

I'll start with the thing that irritated me the most: Mr. Díaz, if you are interested in writing a book that will stand the test of time, do not, repeat, do not include multiple references to non-mainstream pop culture. Do you really think that the majority of your readers know who Luba is and how big her boobs were? Does The Watcher matter to anyone other than those who know who drew the first Spiderman comic book (yes, I know)? And while I enjoyed the references to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, check out page 200 in the hardcover first edition and see if you recognize it. Yeah, that's what I thought.

Second, all the untranslated Spanish? Yes, I know that one argument for this would be that this country might do well to become bi-lingual. But. I am well-versed in Latin-based languages and I had a hard time. What about those who aren't? Especially when obviously crucial pieces of information are not given an English equivalent.

Third, okay I get it about Trujillo. Enough. Please stop repeating it.

Fourth, that introduction that made absolutely no sense because we hadn't even started the book yet? Dude, make it a postscript.

The plot itself was not awful-- poor doomed family from the Dominican Republic, why their lives were a mess and how they tried to escape them. In that respect, he's a decent writer. But I refuse to discuss the plot here. I'm still too mad about his structure.

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