Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao

Plot introduction
The novel chronicles not just the "brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao," an overweight Dominican boy growing up in New Jersey and obsessed with science fiction, fantasy and women, but also the curse of the "fukú" that has plagued Oscar's family for generations and the Caribbean since colonization and slavery. The middle sections of the novel center on the lives of Oscar's mother Beli and his grandfather Abelard under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Rife with footnotes, science fiction and fantasy references, and street Spanglish, the novel is also a meditation on story-telling, Dominican diaspora and identity, masculinity, and the contours of authoritarian power.

Critical reception
The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008. Time magazine's Lev Grossman named it #1 of the Top 10 Fiction Books of 2007, praising it as "a massive, heaving, sparking tragicomedy".


Zorro said...

Sorry the picture is so big...I have to go figure out how to resize it. But now I see more than just a blood splatter on the cover! A face, a wing....

Neco said...

Hola MaryZorro!

If you click on the picture (or the picture's corner or edge), the little white "resizing squares" will appear around the perimeter of the picture. Click down (and keep holding down) on one of those and drag the edge inward to resize the photo.

I know this isn't very good explanation terminology, but if you tried it (go on, edit the post! LOL) you'll see what I mean (especially since you've edited photos before).

Neco said...

PS You have to do the above while you are in the Create a Post/Edit a Post screen.

Marylyn S said...

There are too many good books to choose from this month. I like this one too. The only one I have I Suite Francaise. If we do like last month and read the second choose the following month I will try and get it and will probably order all of the choices. I want to read them all:-)

Neco said...

Me too!

I'm glad the poll is up to select next month's book. I like to know a bit before so I can try to procure the book. Thanks Bonnie!

Bonnie and BBs, would we be open to possibly selecting books for a few months in advance? Like always knowing the next two, three, or four books we'll be reading. Just putting out the idea.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Jennifer, the poll is up, but that means you have to VOTE in the poll so we'll know which book interests you. Marylyn and I both voted for the book she already has ... because it's so hard for her to get books quickly in Korea. Now Jennifer, you and the other buddies need to come here and VOTE.

Mary, I tried resizing the photo the way Jennifer described, but it didn't work. I am able to resize using that method in Word documents, but not here in Blogger posts. Therefore, I saved a copy of the photo from our Book Buddies screen to my computer and went into your post (as administrator, I have that magical power) and inserted it as "small" at the point we are allowed to choose small-medium-large. Rather than delete the large size you had included, I moved it to the bottom of the post for comparison.

And you are right ... in the large version we can see more than blood ... there's a silhouette of a face with something like a wing sticking out of the back of his head. Strange illustration, no?

Neco said...

Hola Bonnie

All the books interest me! (Especially since I picked three of them. What can I say I like options and like giving ya'll options.) Actually, I'm waiting to see how the other BBs vote (in this case, because I'd read any of them and I'd add my vote to one of the vote getting books instead of giving it to a book that just gets one vote). I'll prolly vote the night before the poll closes (but don't worry, I will vote! I have every time LOL). I don't usually vote for my own suggestions.

I'd prolly vote for Oscar Wao, if I voted now, since some of the RGG girls are reading the Pulitzer. But I need to look up what Burger's Daughter is about too. (Btw, on a quick look, I couldn't find much on Burger's Daughter other than one-sentence general description types.)

That's weird about the image resizing. When I insert an image, it shows up in the box where I type text when creating the post as an image. I click the image and the resizing squares appear.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Jennifer, go ahead and vote ... BECAUSE ... you can always change your vote later. Yes, it's true. A vote can be changed, but only by the same person on the same computer, apparently.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Jennifer, go here to read about Burger's Daughter in my Notes, Quotes, and Questions blog:

This is just some of the information I found about the book, even though I don't yet have a copy of the book itself.

Neco said...

Hola Bonnie!

I voted! I had forgotten about the changing the vote thing.

Better info on Nadine's book on your NQ&Q blog. The link in the comment doesn't work though. But I had it bookmarked from when BBs were reading People of the Book.

** Amendment: I have not voted cause it will not accept my vote. But I'll keep the page open and keep trying until it lets me. This is the first time it hasn't let me vote.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Jennifer, it isn't a link. Just copy and paste this URL into your browser and it will take you straight to my post about Burger's Daughter:

If you bookmarked that blog back when we were reading People of the Book, you'll have to either do a search for Burger's Daughter or click on the label that says "fiction ~ Burger's Daughter."

Neco said...

Weird. It already counted my vote. It was here when I checked the page again. Good blogger.

Bonnie, I bookmarked the main page on NQ&Q so it was on that first page. Here I was clicking and clicking on that. LOL Thought the computer was acting up.

Btw, I love this emailing of the comments thing!

Zorro said...

I need to warn you that the violence and language in Oscar Wao may be too much for some to take. There is vulgar street language and the violence against humanity of the Trujillo regime is extreme.

I don't think the book could be written any other way. It tells the story of a culture that most of us are not very familiar with...a story of times that should not be forgotten by Dominican Americans or the gringo US citizen.

It did win a Pulitzer and I can see why.

Neco said...

Only 12 more hours to vote! And only six votes so far.


That's all. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.