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Book review: Junot Diaz’ “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”

I think it was Jessica Zafra who once noted that the Philippines, while very firmly located in Asia, often has more similarities with Latin American countries than its own Asian neighbors. We were under Spanish rule for more than 300 years, after all, and that definitely leaves a mark.

Even Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz made the same observation during his recent visit to the country. From the obsession with whitening products, the incredible leeway given visiting white folks, and just the general chaos one can find here, Diaz says Manila might as well have been his own hometown of Santo Domingo. With a lot less Spanish speakers, but still.

Since I’ve never been to any Latin American country before, these observations only became really apparent to me when I started reading “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”. It didn’t just remind me of my own country, it even reminded me of my own hometown.

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