I’m going to get this part out of the way because I was thinking about it throughout the book and I want to mention it without having it bog down the post. On the surface, sure this is because they are both writers from “Central America” (Diaz is originally from the Dominican Republic but moved to the US, while Bolaño is originally from Chile but moved to Mexico and then Spain).But I’m not really talking about their origins so much as the style of storytelling.Beli was very dark-skinned–which got her ostracized in her community and in her school. Beli fought La Inca and refused to go back to school. Her family, knowing that she is marked in the DR, sends her to New York, where our story began.

antony starr dating-21antony starr dating-33

And so this book took considerably longer than I intended.

However, once I set aside some time to read it, I flew through the book.

It also introduces us to the (real) figure of Rafael Trujillo (more on him later) the dictator of the DR.

Beli’s family was destroyed by Trujillo–and Beli, who was just a baby, was sent to various adoptive families before finally ending up with La Inca, who was her aunt. And she took him…assuming that they would be married right after school. And when they were caught, she was kicked out of school. The Trujillo clan looks to get rid of her, in a particularly brutal way (in a way that echoes throughout the story and is really wonderful–brutal, but wonderful).

But soon enough, she hit puberty and she became smoking hot. Her mother, Beli, tries to keep her homebound, but Lola will have none of it (even when her mother develops cancer and tries to blackmail her into sympathy, she still fights tooth and nail).

Eventually Lola moves with one her crappy boyfriends to the Jersey Shore.

Without going into a lot of Bolaño here, I’ll just say that Bolaño tends to write very detailed character studies–stories that follow one person throughout his whole life on something of a fruitless quest.

And the details of that person’s life include information about family members and distant relatives.

[: October 31, 2011] The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Apparently it’s pronounced, “Wow”, by the way.

Because of my new job, I don’t have a full hour of lunch-time reading like I used to.

This is in no way to suggest that there is any connection between the two writers.