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Don't get swept away by the hype
by greebs on June 15, 2009'Oscar Wao' is indeed a very good book, but it has gotten such praise, awards and - frankly - hype, that for me it slightly failed to live up to expectations. It is a wonderful story - a small story wrapped inside what amounts to a recent history of the Dominican Republic - about a loner 'dweeb' named Oscar. (Wao is not his real last name, but I'll let the story tell you how it became his nickname since it's pretty funny.)
The book is quite stylized in the way the story is told, and the changing narrative, the use of Dominican slang (without translation) and the pop culture references to Dungeons and Dragons and Tolkien may turn off as many readers as it engages. It's not a novel that has true mass appeal. But Junot Diaz is a talented storyteller, and the book is a solid, often spectacular piece of evidence of this. It just might be QUITE as wonderful as everyone is telling you - buyer beware. Still, I enjoyed it very much and do recommend it.
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