what is this novel about or of what does its plot consist ?

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kimfuji eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Díaz writes in The Brief Wondrous Life...about the Trujillo dictatorship time period of the Dominican Republic and about contemporary New Jersey. He blends these stories using different character's narratives.

The novel has very interesting narrators, Oscar’s sister, Lola and Yunior, Oscar’s college roommate and Lola’s boyfriend. They try to uplift Oscar.

Later inthe novel, the reader learns about Oscar and Lola’s mother, Beli. She is very tough and her childhood was full of  pain. She had a wealthy father who was tortured by Rafael Trujillo, the dictator. She suffered a lot under the brutal life in the D.R. She had an affair with the son of a high ranking official inthe D.R. She was savagly beaten in the cane fields, as a result of the affair. She almost died which made her come to the U.S., in exile.

His(Diaz) prose is full of slang and both captures the dictatorship and how it was living under that as well as the issue of being an over-weight, geek college student. Like David Foster Wallace, he leaves a lot of footnotes, that help the reader understand the context of the book.

Having said all that, it is a difficult book to read because of the dual stories told, in different cultural settings by different narrators, with Diaz's use of slang.

It shows the effects of the Dominion Republic diaspora to the U.S. and a geek growing up in New Jersey where many Dominican's migrated.

 

Read the study guide:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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