I saw Junot Diaz on The Colbert Report when The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao came out. And the guy is a bona fide geek. Watching him and Colbert riff on Tolkiennish stuff was great fun, so the non-nerdishness of the book surprised me. It was kind of like Contemporary Literature for SF fans.
I’d been under the impression that it would all be focusing on Oscar, this Dominican-born American-raised nerd. And that’s how it starts. But after a section with more Jack Kirby and Mordor and Planet of the Apes references than you’d catch it shifts and you’re dealing with his sister, and you lose the narrator and I was a bit disappointed. But. The narrator comes back (and becomes a character in his own right) even as the books delves back into the family’s fuku from the D.R. and by the time the nerd-talk resumes I was okay with its absence.
And you know, poor Oscar de Leon is a pretty sympathetic character for the kind of geek I am.