Soooo, Oscar de Leon is a fat, sloppy turbo-nerd. He is the only Dominican male to never get laid. This is sort of his story, but it’s also the story of his wildling of a sister, and of his fierce, domineering pillar of a mother, and of her ill-fated parents, and of the whole de Leon clan who seem to suffer under a Curse. Because everyone keeps dying. Depressing, no? But, no. Somehow so uplifting, Braveheart-style. I want to stand on a mountain and scream.
So that you aren’t caught off-guard, know that you would have to be fluent in both Spanish and geek to fully and completely get this book. But hey, I am neither, and I am here to tell you that that’s ok. Remember how, in All the Pretty Horses, half the damn conversations were in Spanish, and I was walking around all, Huh? There is, apparently, a way to Spanishify your novel without pissing off your readers. Being dominican, Oscar and his relatives will be all Blah blah blah insulting Spanish word blah, or Blah blah Spanish joke, probably something to do with Oscar being fat, or Blah blahtender sentiments in Spanish blah and dude, I follow. I am picking up what you’re putting down.
As for the nerd references, we all know by now (if we didn’t before) who Sauron is, and what Mordor implies, and if you don’t, or if the other references slide by you and you can’t get a feel for what Diaz is trying to say, and if you can’t Wikipedia yourself some answers, it’s time to turn in your key to the 21st century and head back to your log cabin, friend.
I am in love with this book. I borrowed it from a friend to have it read in time for our book club (which never ended up getting off the ground), but now I’ll need to buy my own copy.