The "signature novel" of the decade
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao | by Junot Diaz
Writing in New York magazine, Sam Anderson calls Junot Díaz's 2007 novel a defining work of the decade:
"If there is a signature novel of the aughts—one book that most artfully co-opted our newfangled webbiness, that allowed itself to feel simultaneously major and small, that anchored its post-postmodern gimmickry in solid fictional ground—it was Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.... The really stunning thing about Oscar Wao, in true aughts fashion, is its style.
Díaz turns the book over to a small crowd of narrators, each of whom seems to channel 100 different subcultures and dialects. The result is a reference-studded Spanglish loaded so densely with extratextual shout-outs (ringwraiths, Le Corbusier, Joseph Conrad’s wife) it practically requires the web as an unofficial appendix. The book could have been sponsored by Google and Wikipedia; you either have to consult them constantly or just surrender to the vastness of the knowledge you don’t have—which is, of course, its own kind of pleasure."
Junot Díaz, Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing
Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies
For his 2007 novel, Professor Junot Díaz has received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the New York Times Notable Book (Gold Medal), the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.