Junot Diaz lived in the Dominican Republic until he was 7 years old, then emigrated to the United States, where he had a gritty New Jersey childhood. Now hes written a book in which . . . a Dominican kid has a gritty New Jersey childhood while we learn about his grandparents living under dictator Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Write what you know, indeed.
Just another author capitalizing on his roots with his first novel, right? Actually, wrong. What makes Diaz so special is that you forget all about the cliché when youre reading The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, because its just plain good. The Pulitzer board agrees with us they gave it the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.