Este libro no es para los pariguayo’s so bring your curious appetite! Junot Diaz has made us a literary Sancocho de Vidias that uses 5 pounds of bold language, 4 countries, 6 liters of Trujillo, a dab of comic books fantasy and seasoned it with the De Leon family. He patiently cooks it to a simmer capturing four decades flavor while stirring it with his characters voices. He serves us a full plate of sadness, love, struggle, hope, racism and language.     

This rhythmic Dominican narrative flows through Oscar, an organic and tragic hero that humanly struggles with cultural stereotypes as well as the family Fuku (curse). While the novel constantly changes narrators and scenery in an effort to create atmosphere we interact with his life the most. It is an ode to a loser’s journey. Oscar’s world dines on the adversities of living in two diverse societies while trying to figure out his own immigrant identity.

Junot sporadic use of foot notes also plays a key role throughout the story. They allow him to make historical judgments or even interject his personal opinions as the author. His word play and free use of metaphors are creatively explained in this form. Like water at a dinner table, they help the story go down smoother when you have taken a big bite of wordy yucca.     

Junot’s story is born in the sugarcane fields of Santo Domingo and raised in the streets of New Jersey but is written well enough that it could apply to many of our personal journals. Ultimately this novel captures the taste and scents of our multi cultural lives. Oscar’s recipe is one that is common to all and one rarely spoken about at our dinner table.       

-AG-