Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Immigrant Fiction

Finished May 9
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
This is the story of not only Oscar, but also of his family, including his sister, his mother, and his maternal grandparents. Oscar is a Dominican-American. His mother came to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a young woman.
Woven into the story is the history of the Dominican Republic, and portions of its culture. Oscar's family has a curse that follows them, but that they seldom mention. It is this that brings about misfortune to the family.
I enjoyed the story here, but my lack of knowledge of Spanish impaired my enjoyment. There are many Spanish words and phrases scattered throughout the book, and at first I tried to determine what they meant, but there are so many that I gave up. This meant that there were bits where I didn't understand. I also found that these caused for me a disconnect with the book, or a loss of flow that meant I kept getting taken out of the story to feel the frustration of less than full comprehension of the author's tale.
I think that if I had knowledge of Spanish, this book would have drawn me into the story more and I would have gotten more pleasure out of my reading.

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