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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) by Junot Díaz takes a tragic, humorous, violent, and incredibly clever look at three generations of a Dominican family and the DR's experience under the dictator Rafael Trujillo. I've now read it twice (so rich with ideas and nuance, once wasn't enough). Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this novel is an explosion of ideas and imagery that leaves a striking impression of a time and place and its brutal dictator who, along with his regime, was responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of people and countless rapes of girls and young women, some of this echoing through the generations of the family in this story. Narrated by multiple characters, dabbed with magic realism, and disturbing for its mix of violence with the banal and comical, it's a hard read but important and well worth it. Definitely among the greatest works of fiction to come out this century so far.

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