This one was supposed to be on last decade’s best-of list: Diaz’s novel, the follow-up to his prizewinning debut story collection Drown, was 11 years in the making. It was worth the wait. Oscar Wao — it’s a Dominican transliteration of Oscar Wilde — is the nickname of a fat, science-fiction-writing, Dungeons and Dragons-playing Dominican nerd growing up in New Jersey. Diaz follows the story of Oscar’s family backward to the old country, and the reign of the tyrant Rafael Trujillo, which warped it beyond repair, and then forward to Oscar’s tragic and, strangely, exalted end.
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