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Book Rating (31)

Narrator Rating (3)

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Junot Diaz

Narrated By: Jonathan Davis

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: September 2007

Duration: 16 hours 3 minutes


Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku: the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience - and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms Junot Diaz as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.


  • Maria Loomis

    This audiobook truly made this story come alive. It is rich in non-fictional detailed history and tells the story of a fictional family. At times in the beginning of the book, it may feel like the history drags on, but that's because the narrator is reading what is reference and subtext material in the book. I appreciated that he included that. Since listening in 2010, this piece of literature remains in my top five favorite books of all time.

  • Willy Belloso

    This was a really good experience and I actually liked it. The only problem is that the reader is really slow.

  • Del

    I like books set in a historical setting, even if that setting is recent. Listening to this book showed me how ignorant of the politics and history of the Dominican Republic I was. Also because it was wrapped in an interesting story I learned something while enjoying it. There is a lot of use of the "N" word in this book, but it seems to be used to make the language seem authenticate and not as a slur. I thought it was funny that the reader seemed to have an easier time saying that then the word ain't. Every time he had to use ain't it seemed almost painful for him to utter. This book is 1/3 Spanish, 1/3 geek, 1/3 History/Politics. My Spanish is a bit rusty but passible enough that the Spanish portions of the text were understandable and I have a current geek card so I was able to understand those references. I think if you are missing both the geek references and the spanish text you'll have a hard time getting into the story and understanding what is going on.

  • Catharine Cosoleto

    After seeing this book listed as one of the best of 2007, I decided to give it a try, but it was not for me. The long passages regarding the politics of the Dominican Republic detracted from the flow of the story. The untranslated Spanish phrases and cultural references made me feel like an outsider. Also, the frequent use of the "n word" was offensive. When I realized that I was no longer looking forward to listening, I gave it up (something I rarely do). I guess I will never find out what made Oscar's life "wondrous".