More Oscar Wao Review

For other reviews of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Jessica’s The Blue Stocking Society
Nymeth’s Things Mean A Lot (From July 2008 )
One Minute Book Reviews

(please let me know if you have reviewed this – I will link it up!)

My notes taken while reading…  includes vocabulary.   (I have ZERO Spanish – this is going to be obvious.)

words first…
p.56 fea, hija  (used throughout)  fea = ugly, hija = daughter

p.61 callow “…like all boys:  beautiful and callow…”    callow = lacking adult maturity or experience

p. 89 melnibonian  (nothing online until I found this:  Melniboné  )

p.100 scromfed – I could only find this in the urbandictionary and yet what I found was not the ‘just another word for screwing’ that I expected.   Here’s the sentence:  “For about a month they scromfed in various isolated corners of the school…”

p. 100 4d10  – eek!  a measurement, I assume.

p 104 (and elsewhere) zangana = drone, criada = servant, guapa = handsome

p.150 the creature’s chabine eyes – Caribbean mythology?

154 sola (ok I know thought this is something representing the sun or solar….)   NOPE!   Here’s the sentence and the translation (I’m using Yahoo’s Babel Fish, btw.  COOL STUFF!)

“me mataron a mi hijo.  Estoy sola, estoy sola”  =  “they killed son to me. I am single, I am single”

p.198 “…she would ig me…”    ig – just short for ignore.  OR… is it the great vulture that watches over us?

p.212 coffle “coffled to a beer”  = A group of animals, prisoners or slaves chained together in a line.   but, to a beer?

p.214 tertulias = social gatherings

p.245 theremin = early popular electronic performing instrument


NOTE-WORTHY (to me) stuff and/or EXTREMELY WELL-WRITTEN parts, pages
p.136 great quote:  “Success, after all, loves a witness, but failure can’t exist without one.”

P.144-145 Paragraphs about the power of prayer.    I especially was fond of the “…plucky seven-year-old whose piety, until then, had been obscured by a penchant for blowing mucus out of her nostrils like a man.”

p.178 para on orcs…   “Wondering aloud, If we were orcs, wouldn’t we, at a racial level, imagine ourselves to look like elves?”   

p.205.  WHO IS LOLA WRITING TO?!   Yunior?

p.215 – reminder to go check if I’ve ever seen the movie Point Blank.   I think I first had an image of Keanu Reeves but that was Point Break.   shake head…    UH OH.   If this is a reference to the 1967 movie – I have not seen it!  but I want to.    The file says that this was remade as Payback with Mel Gibson which is one of my favorite badass movies.

p. 283 “Prostitutes ruined my life.”    comic moment?  

p.297 Jim Kelly as Oscar’s hero?!   The Buffalo Bills football player?

I’ve got other stuff written down, but it’s only helping me to relive the story;  really doesn’t add much to the list here…

5 thoughts on “More Oscar Wao Review

  1. After reading your review (and others), I really want to get my hands on a copy of this book!

    My Venezuelan boyfriend wants me to add that the correct translation of “Me mataron a mi hijo. Estoy sola, estoy sola…” is actually “They killed my son. I am alone, I am alone.” which I think is close enough to the Yahoo version, but whatever. And I think being “coffled to a beer” sounds like an awesome way to spend a Friday night. 🙂

  2. When is this book going to show up in South Korea!!!??? It’s driving me crazy — we always get the Pulitzer fiction winners…what’s the holdup?? Excuse me while I go bash my head against my bookshelves. Chinga! Pardon my Fr…uh, Spanish.

  3. Jessi – oh, thank you! (and thank the boyf) It was the sola that really tripped me up. “Alone” makes better sense, actually. You’ll realize it if you find the passage when you read it.

    and I LOVE your attitude! Beer Tie Down Nights? Uh oh. I’m still wrestling with this sentence, how it was used and what it means…

    Bybee – you’re ALMOST inspiring me to go buy it for you! If I had purchased it (it’s a library book) I would most def let you mooch it.

  4. coffled to a beer…
    I understood it as as belittled/pinned to be known as beer ‘mascot’ (given the historic background) and not even in his native country.

    Hi Vivi! Thanks for sharing. This book had tons of stuff I didn’t quite understand but I loved it anyway.

  5. The mysterious 4d10 is not a measurement, but a metaphor for a rape. The number 4d10 is a reference to Dungeons and Dragons, one of the role playing games to which Oscar was addicted. Roll 4 d10s (ten sided dice), add them up, and levy that much damage to the opponents.

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