For Oscar his obsession with fantasy and science fiction becomes isolating, separating him from his peers so much so that he almost cannot communicate with them
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
A group of American critics has named Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, an ingenious take on the life of an overweight Dominican-American nerd, as the best novel of the 21st century to date.
BBC Culture, the arts section of the international BBC site, polled “several dozen” US critics to find the greatest novels written so far this century, with 156 novels in all named by experts from papers including the New York Times, Time magazine, Newsday, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. Díaz’s first novel was top of the list for the most critics, said BBC.com, with the Latino author’s Pulitzer-winning creation Oscar Wao, a “hardcore sci-fi and fantasy man” desperate to get laid, compared to Philip Roth’s Portnoy and John Updike’s Rabbit by one respondent, the critic, and playwright Gregg Barrios.
“Díaz’s deft mash-up of Dominican history, comics, sci-fi, magic realism, and footnotes totally rocks,” found Barrios, while critic and author Rigoberto Gonzalez said the debut “re-energized these questions: Who is American? What is the American experience?”
Second, for the critics came Edward P Jones’ 19th-century-set novel The Known World, in which a slave turned slave-owner lies dying on his plantation, with Hilary Mantel’s reimagining of the life of Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall, third. “I have never felt so completely catapulted into a character’s mind, not to mention a long ago and far away place,” said Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times books editor. Wolf Hall’s sequel Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the British author the Booker prize, drew votes as well, but failed to make the top 12, said the BBC.