Poor Oscar

Ok, I'm racing -- RACING -- through The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, in time for tomorrow night's book club.

Yeah, baby, I'm going to get this thing read. And learn lots of Spanish. Like muchacho. And portato, which I think means "act like." Also, I am learning lots about science fiction geekiness.

An excerpt for your perusal this.... grey.... Saturday morning:

"Poor Oscar. Without even realizing it he'd fallen into one of those Let's-Be-Friends Vortexes, the bane of nerdboys everywhere. These relationships were love's version of a stay in the stocks, in you go, plenty of misery guaranteed and what you got out of it besides bitterness and heartbreak nobody knows. Perhaps some knowledge of self and of women.


(p. 41)


erin said...

Hey... at least you've started it; I haven't even picked up a copy from the library yet (so don't expect me tonight).

Ahhhh, the "Let's-Just-Be-Friends" Vortex, such memories from my youth. I can only hope that it's one of those tickboxes of adolescence that one has to complete before becoming an "adult". Luckily (?!) for me, I ticked that box ad nauseum.

TSS said...

Did you finish it? Would love to read your thoughts...

erin said...

So, I'm about halfway through, and while its interesting and all, and I have every intention of finishing it, but am I the only one who found the writing style somewhat gimicky? Like the author was trying a little too hard to sound like a Beastie Boy? And even if it was on purpose (and perhaps trying to be "ironic"), did anyone else find it tiresome at times?

TSS said...


I didn't find it that way, for two reasons. One, I've read other books with an attempt at the hip-hop patois, and they were awful. See Londstani (awful) and Angry Black White Boy (a little better).

Second, Diaz does it so well. I grew up listening to hip hop, good hip hop. At its best, it's incredible poetry, and heard that in his writing. They way the narrator talks up the story, how he attempts to sound good to not only make the story good, but to make us appreciate the storyteller... pure hip hop.

The only time I didn't like the style was when he fires off a series of rhetorical questions... but that's a small quibble.

The problem with the Beastie Boys is that their lyrics are non-sensical (more so) than most pop music/hip hop. Luckily, they have some of the illest beats.