Monday, December 3, 2007

Oscar Wow!

Remember the day you picked up The Ice Shirt and the footnotes made an excellent novel even better? Perhaps you first came across them in the work of Borges or, like me, Terry Pratchett. How about the time you read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and the best part of the entire book happened before the first paragraph?
The OverDrone salivates over footnotes in fiction, end notes too, and Junot Diaz's novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is chock full of them.
The story takes place in New Jersey and the Dominican Republic, and while there are pop culture references scattered throughout like medical waste on the Jersey shoreline the footnotes tend toward Dominican history. They act as pauses in the main narrative allowing the reader to take a breath and consider the larger forces at work.
I first read a chapter from the book in the New Yorker, pre-Publication and with an illustration by one of los bros Hernandez. Usually, fiction featured in the New Yorker is tedious and irrelevant, what a refreshing change!
Purchase and Enjoy.
Oscar Wow!

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