Currently Reading: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Oscar is the only son in a Dominican family. Unfortunately, he is not what a Dominican male should be. Instead of being a suave, handsome, good dancer with girls crawling all over him, he is an overweight sci-fi nerd with a penchant for becoming obsessive over females.
What made Oscar this way? According to the story and old family legend, it was the fuku, the name of the curse that can be put upon a person or a family. In Oscar's case, his family's fuku goes back a few generations, which is slowly revealed.
The book reminded me a bit of 100 Years of Solitude in that it was the story of several generations of a family and how the actions of one affected all the others. The difference in this case is that the story moves backwards rather than forwards. First we learn about Oscar and his sister Lola. Next we learn about his mother, Beli, and finally about her parents and what caused these series of familial and personal disasters.
I didn't enjoy the book while I was reading it, but more so after I was done with it. The misogyny really bothered me, although in the novel, it was written off a cultural appreciation of women's beauty. My favorite aspect of the book was how it was set against the backdrop of Trujillo's dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, something I unfortunately knew nothing about previous to this. The way that he managed to control an entire country through systematic murder, rape, and surveillance is terrifying. I appreciate when a novel can teach me something in a historical sense that I was unaware of.
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