Book review: ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’

This review originally ran in the Times Union in September 2007.

oscarwaoWow! Or should I say “Wao”?

Junot Diaz‘s long-awaited debut novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” (Riverhead Books; 335 pages; $24.95) is the best book I’ve read this year.

The story traces a fuku, or the “Curse and the Doom of the New World.” Oscar, an overweight first-generation New Jersey kid, is way into J.R.R. Tolkien,Japanese anime and science fiction (he’s writing aspace opera). But he and his family are cursed.

His grandfather, a respected doctor in the Dominican Republic in the 1950s, feared his beautiful teenage daughter would catch the eye of dictator-for-lifeRafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. Trujillo ruled from 1930 to 1961 and was known to rape the daughters of prominent citizens.

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I just pre-ordered Chuck Kinder’s Silver Ghost

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Outlaw. Writer. Professor.

Chuck Kinder was my professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s MFA program. Like many of his students, I benefited greatly from his imaginative approach to writing, the often imaginative worlds opened up by his constant question: “What if?”

In an exciting turn of events, his 1978 novel “The Silver Ghost” is coming back into print through the work of Braddock Avenue Books where one of the publishers just so happens to be another one of Chuck Kinder’s former students, Jeffrey Condon.

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‘Angela and the Scar’ called a ‘standout’ tale in ‘Long Hidden’

In case you didn’t know, the anthology of all-new short fiction “Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History” comes out on Friday, May 9, 2014.

A review from RT Books says the editors “have assembled some superstar-powered stories,” and then it goes on to point out three “standout tales” out of the 27 in the volume. And, yes, the story I wrote, “Angela and the Scar” is one of those standout tales.

Thanks!

Read the full review here http://www.rtbookreviews.com/book-review/long-hidden

New on Goodreads: Veterans of the Future Wars

VFWCoversmAn anthology of military sci-fi that I am in — Veterans of the Future Wars — has just been added to Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20691034-vfw.

If you haven’t already seen it, go check it out today. It is being put together by Martinus Publishing.

Here’s what’s cool about the anthology:

It’s military sci-fi about veterans, to honor veterans, and several of these stories were written by actual veterans. Read these tales to share in the adventure, the triumphs and tragedies, and if you like your freedom thank those who have served to protect it. 10% of all profits will be donated to Disabled American Veterans.

Thanks!

‘Long Hidden’ update: Giveaway on Good Reads and cover blurb news

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This is getting real. The anthology Long Hidden, which is now up on Goodreads.com and includes one of my short stories, can be yours in a giveaway going on right now on Goodreads.

Go enter the giveaway at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20642659-long-hidden.

Also check out the book jacket copy. The blurb mentions five of the 27 stories in the anthology — including mine. Can you guess which one?

In 1514 Hungary, peasants who rose up against the nobility rise again – from the grave. In 1633 Al-Shouf, a mother keeps demons at bay with the combined power of grief and music. In 1775 Paris, as social tensions come to a boil, a courtesan tries to save the woman she loves. In 1838 Georgia, a pregnant woman’s desperate escape from slavery comes with a terrible price. In 1900 Ilocos Norte, a forest spirit helps a young girl defend her land from American occupiers.

These gripping stories have been passed down through the generations, hidden between the lines of journal entries and love letters. Now 27 of today’s finest authors – including Tananarive Due, Sofia Samatar, Ken Liu, Victor LaValle, Nnedi Okorafor, and Sabrina Vourvoulias – reveal the people whose lives have been pushed to the margins of history