Marcela Valdes on Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz
$24.95 List Price
Culo. Coño. Puta. Mariconcito. Coje that fea y metéselo! The number of obscenities that appear within the first twenty-five pages of Junot Díaz’s second book, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, makes it abundantly clear that he’s not writing for Oprah’s Book Club. At the very least, Winfrey would have to bone up on her four-letter Spanish before she could rubberstamp this book, because more than any other author writing today, Díaz sings straight to the heart of urban Spanglish, and he’s not waiting for outsiders to catch up. His Spanish is untranslated, as is his freestyle hip-hop slang. Clearly, he’s writing for his people—Dominicans on the island and around New York City—and as far as he’s concerned, everyone else is just listening in.
In 1997, Díaz told People magazine that Drown, the short-story collection
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