Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: a Novel. New York: Riverhead, 2007.
For the past 3 years, this has been on my radar, as everyone in my "library" classes had been going on and on about it. I really didn't like it that much, nor do I care for Diaz' short stories that I pick up here and there. There are some inspired lines, such as, "...when he thought about the way she laughed, as though she owned the air around her, his heart thudded inside his chest, a lonely rada." Sure, what girl wouldn't fall in love with that line? But "a lonely rada" is kind of lost on me. I'm just not that citified, I guess. The only Dominicans I really ever met were at Word of Life Camp when I was a teenager, and they didn't swear or speak in the vernacular Diaz uses in his writings, at least not while they were at Bible camp. I would have to say that I did enjoy the narrative techniques, story within a story within a story, the thread that ran through the narrative, the epiphany when the narrator was revealed-that was fresh. I learned quite a bit about DR history. And this book was so much more enjoyable than How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. If I was in a school where I was able to teach either book, barring censorship, I would choose Diaz over Alvarez. He's less agenda-oriented and less self-aware, more about the craft.