Trujillo hovers over the entire novel. Actually, wait a minute. We lied. Maybe you should be really, really alarmed. Trujillo is one scary dude.
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I stand by this completely. If someone says they read this and liked it, punch them in the throat. Diaz, now 38, burst on the literary scene in with his well-received collection of short stories, "Drown," which critics and readers both loved. The book begins with short-lived promise. We meet dorky Oscar as a high school sophomore living in Paterson, N. The mother had been born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, but immigrated to the United States in the early s.
Had no knack for music or business or dance, no hustle, no rap, no G. And most damning of all: no looks. He wore his semi-kink hair in a Puerto Rican afro, rocked enormous Section 8 glasses…sported an unappealing trace of mustache on his upper lip and possessed a pair of close-set eyes that made him look somewhat retarded.
Dude wore his nerdiness like a Jedi wore his light saber or a Lensman her lens. Truthfully, wanting to know does help drag the reader through the novel. Early on, the forward momentum of the novel stalls and the narrative flashes back in time and focuses on Lola, the sister, and how she ran away from home in the s; and then to the mother, Belicia, and how she was a star-crossed lover herself in the Dominican Republic.
Unfortunately, it never did, and the reasons seem clear. Not only is the narrative timeline all over the place, but important information -- be it dialogue or exposition -- is often relayed in Spanish.
If Diaz is aiming this book towards a bilingual audience, then so be it. But how difficult would it have been to translate the Spanish in footnotes?
The book is already rife with footnotes anyway, which mainly serve to explain the history of the brutal dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Throw a gringo a bone. Gordo, no me digas que tu todavia tienes hambre. If blue pill, continue. If red pill, return to the Matrix. Do yourself a favor and take the red pill now.
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