And You, Michiko, Are Ostensibly a Literary Critic, Not a Sleazy Hollywood Producer Pitching to Executives

Michiko Kaukutani: “Junot Díaz’s “Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is a wondrous, not-so-brief first novel that is so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets ‘Star Trek’ meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West. “

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5 Comments

  1. Mario Vargas Llosa meets Star Trek meets DFW meets Kanye West is a combination that demands I not read this book. Now if it had just been Star Trek meets Kanye West, well, then, I may have given it a chance. But something happens when you throw Mario and DFW into the mix, and I love DFW, and I really liked Feast of the Goat. I think I’ll continue to read Michaels’s Sylvia, and then move onto Tree of Smoke. Thanks Michiko, but no thanks.

  2. But if it’s really all of that – Llosa and Star Trek and DFW and Kanye – then how can the book be truly called “original”?

  3. Yep, saw that sentence as an easy escape–it’s a hard book to classify; bilingual–zesty spanglish, speckled with footnotes, and all the ‘street’ slang and pop/geek culture references…hmmm, what to make of this?
    And, significantly, the *lack* of a narrative from Oscar himself. “The Brief Wonderous..” shares a certain zeitgeist with Bolano’s “Savage Detectives” and Palahniuk’s “Rant” in that Diaz’s novel is missing the protagonist’s perspective, yet it’s narrated by people who knew him.
    I think Diaz is more like version of Garcia-Marquez; not because of the easy magic realism comparison, but because Garcia-Marquez has spent most of his career trying to convey what it means to be Colombian, and more specifically, Colombian-in-exile…

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