The next book I’m eager to read is Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Amazon). It’s been getting a lot of attention. Time magazine has a piece this week proclaiming the novel as the next big thing. I’ve taught his short story collection Drown a number of times.
From the descriptions I’ve read, the new novel, like the short stories, has strong personal connections for Diaz. The Time article offers this brief character description from the novel:
"Oscar was a social introvert who trembled with fear during gym class
and who watched nerd British shows like Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, could
tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi
walker, and he used a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like
indefatigable and ubiquitous when talking to niggers who would barely
graduate from high school."
The novel promises to take this idiosyncratic perspective (that is 100% Diaz) and use it as a launching point for a thorough examination of the processes of colonization and immigration. The book comes out Sept 6th, so I’ll write more after then.