Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: 11/18/2010

Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoDiaz is a smarty-pants of a writer (like Chabon and DeLillo), showing off his wit and knowledge in a story that goes outside our expectations of a novel.  A few Book Club members liked the combination of playfulness and intellect, comedy and tragedy. Readers put off by extensive footnotes, untranslated Spanish slang, and allusions to characters from comic books and science fiction stories didn’t enjoy it so much. Not a crowd-pleaser, this book was most appreciated by readers familiar with Spanish.

A couple of people commented that they preferred Julia Alvarez’ In the Time of the Butterflies for a novel about the Dominican Republic.

In the Time of the Butterflies: 2/14/08

In the Time of the Butterflies
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

The group was split on this one. Some were engrossed by vivid writing, strong characters and the tragic setting. They were inspired by the story of sisters from a “good family,” transformed into political radicals, and the tragedy of the one who survived.

Others were disappointed to find such rich material – location, subject matter, plot – falling so flat for them. A few mentioned the Hussein’s “The Kite Runner,” saying they found his writing much more compelling. CD and BT both called Alvarez’ book boring.

JW and HF disagreed, feeling that Alvarez succeeded in writing a book that is “not, after all, a historical document, but a way to travel through the human heart.”

The Legendary Butterflies: The Mirabal Sisters’ Legacy of Resistance by Margaret Michniewicz The Mirabal Sisters
Julia Alvarez Biography of Julia Alvarez

Visit the author’s website

julia alvarez
  More on In the Time of the Butterflies:
  • For more articles on Alvarez and her books, try Infotrac Onefile, available at the library, or from home (with a Minuteman Library Network card).