Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The brief wondorous life of Oscar Wao

The brief wondorous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

How many people would know what is the capital of Dominican Republic? Or its neighbouring country? In just a few years one forgets everything that was learnt over long, sleepless nights.

How intrinsically is an individual’s life history connected to the history of his country, his people? In a highly globalized world can there ever be a global citizen? At what point in time does one stop being an immigrant, an outsider?

Or as Yunior, the part narrator says, "You really want to know what being an X-Man feels like? Just be a smart bookish boy of color in a contemporary U.S. ghetto. Mamma mia! Like having bat wings or a pair of tentacles growing out of your chest."

Think of a third world country. Any third world country or especially one that you can’t recall the capital city of or locate on the world map and chances are that it has a very violent history and not surprisingly the first world has played a not too insignificant role in it’s past and present misery.

Or as Junot Diaz puts it so eloquently, “They say it came first from Africa," the novel begins, "carried in the screams of the enslaved … that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles. Fuku americanus, or more colloquially, fuku – generally a curse or doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and the Doom of the New World…No matter what its name or provenance, it is believed that the arrival of the Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed the fuku on the world, and we’ve been in shit ever since.”

Time to open that atlas now.

(Afterthought on books: part 5)

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