for those who are in or around sane

Wednesday, June 4

may books: shortie entrie

only one book consumed in may. i also attempted to catch up with my absurdly large pile of new yorkers, to no avail. somehow, softball season, the advent of cable, bbqs and vacations prevented my usual amount of book reading. even my lunch hours have been usurped by things like design memos and bday lunches. but, i must say, i made my may book count.

the brief wondrous life of oscar wao by junot diaz

my preface to reading this book: this is my advance galley copy, received almost exactly a year ago at the bookexpo america 2007 conference. a lit agent slipped me a copy, patted it's cover and said i'd better read it asap. i started it that very day, and was hooked immediately. however, it got mixed up in the truckload of books i brought home, packed into a box during my move and was stored in a basement for many months before i could unearth it again. during this time, at least 4 of my more literary friends brought up "this great new book i found by junot diaz"... oh how i ITCHED to finish reading that damn galley.

and so, here i be, one year later, finished reading the pulizter prize-winning book. yes, that's right, during it's tenure in my cardboard boxes, it won a pulitzer.

oscar is a first-generation american of dominican decent - and my, my what a decent it is... his family is followed by fuku - a deep rooted curse - which threads its way through the lives of oscar's loved ones, crosses oceans and spans generations. oscar, completely out of place in his heritage, is a doomed literary, rotund, sci-fi/anime/comic/gamer fanboy. his mother, sister, great aunt and "best friend's" stories interweave around oscar's, creating an amazingly elaborate portrait of domincan and dominican-american life.

spanglish is prevalent, which was my personal challenge - i had to stretch my brain back to high school (and reach for that dog-eared pocket translation dictionary) to grasp some of the higher meanings. diaz uses native language and [squeal of delight] footnotes to incorporate dominican history, passion and empathy into the story.

read the damn new york times review or the publishers weekly review for the glorious details, but suffice to say, i really enjoyed diaz's debut. take it for a spin - and dont be afraid of the language!



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