I'm just writing this e-mail to thank you for writing the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I spent the entire day of Thanksgiving reading your new novel and enjoyed it even more than the turkey.
As an aspiring writer of Latin-American (Venezuelan-American, actually) descent I had often racked my brain wondering how to write a novel that was both Latin-American and just Great American. Before your novel, it seemed to me (perhaps out of cynicism) that a novel about the experience of being Latin-American would always be kind of stereotyped or like pushed into the "multicultural novel" niche and I wondered how I (or anyone, for that matter) could ever write anything about the Latin-American experience without falling into that pitfall. But then Oscar Wao came along.
Not only does your novel set the new standard for great writing by Latin-American authors, but it sets a standard for all great american writing. It's both an authentic novel that rings true to the Latin-American experience (having grown up as an over-weight, hispanic geek, I could really relate to and sympathize with Oscar) and also a well written novel that blurs the line between the populist, entertaining writing everyone loves and loves to hate on and that damn literariness that my University trained me to look for--4 years of college-level Creative Writing classes will do that.
Whether you realize it or not, this novel will turn you into a hero for young writers--especially 22-year old, aspiring Latin-American writers such as this one. Someday your overweight, nerdy Latin-American, and classic character will, in this guy's opinion, be taught to students in U.S. writing and literature classes everywhere--the way that Yunior and Ysrael already are. And, weird as that may sound, that is a great thing.
-Omar de la Rosa,
An aspiring writer who attended your reading at University of Central Florida a couple years ago and thought, "Wow, maybe there is room for good Latin-American writers in this country..." and decided to go through with his (perhaps risky) decision to major in Creative Writing instead of something easier and more profitable like Business or Engineering.