kate and pansy
think about taking over the world
but instead decide to take another drink
Saturday, September 13, 2008

(cross-posted on the bookies--where it did have formatting).
Wow. No tears this time for a book of such brilliance it humbles me even as I watch in awe as Diaz manages to weave so many different currents, different, worlds, different universes together in a narrative both original and yet part of so much great literature. This is a work of genius. At first, I had a hard time imagining someone teaching creative writing at MIT. What kind of a (schizophrenic) person could do that?!? Having finished Wao, I now have no problem imagining Diaz holding his own with the geeks while writing (and I suspect reading) fiction. I think this is a book that could be read several times, and each time, the reader would learn more, see something new, appreciate it in a different light. Diaz speaks in so many languages like Spanish, the new footnote style of David Wallace Foster, incorporating the style of magic realism used by Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa. And I am not even mention the comic book/graphic novel references, all the rpging terms scattered about or the hip hop. Each a language telling the reader that little bit more, adding another layer to the compelling story of a family and its curse. I think I am most impressed at Diaz’s calling out to the literary canon(like a rap artist). Years ago, rocks were soft, dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in an American High School in a small town and actually I was 15, sophomore year, the year you have to do American Literature. More a lot of people that meant The Scarlet Letter. I was college prep. In our classes it was Thorton Wilder and Emerson and Thoreau (On Civil Disobedience not Walden) and a little bit of Hemingway. Specifically, The Old Man and the Sea and the Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. You think Diaz just picked his title out of then air? He’s running with the giants and I like him a whole lot more than Papa. Wao, like Mr. Macomber, takes life in his own hands, find happiness, if only for a brief time (fyi, Wao’s happiness is of a longer duration that safari participant Francis) Then final year, we had to read a lot (looking back on it now) including Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. And that is what I recall in Oscar’s last words. In his life, it is not “the horror” he sees, but “the beauty”. For all the tragedy and unhappiness of the life of his family, Oscar finds love. But it isn’t just Oscar’s story that captivates me, its all those women: his sister, his mother, his abuela. Great story telling. But more. A book that illuminates on every page. Though I am not sure I am going to give it to my mother to read.

posted at 9:36 AM

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Just like the state of nature, nasty, brutish and short...I was always fond of the nickname 'Craxi'...Sometimes I cook, sometimes I tend bar, sometimes I even knit. Mostly I try not to read the plethora of government publications that cross my desk and write one page summaries.
favorite food: lobster. ben and jerry's ice cream
favorite show: CSI
favorite drink: grey goose vodka (with ice, it doesn't need anything else)
age: far older than I like to admit/contemplate

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