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Dowd-O’Gorman Reading group Spring Program, March 27

ReidHallthumbMarch 27
Junot Diaz. The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao.
President’s Dining Room, Reid Castle
Manhattanville College
Discussion Leader: Van Hartmann

In this story the privileging of “whiteness” is turned on itself. Built on a foundation of subverting the human authenticity of its constructed minority, in practice it has opened up for itself impossible ambiguities for authentic personal identity. Three generations of the de Leon family have been victims of this privileging, the curse and doom of a mythology of the New World. Oscar de Leon, a young Dominican emigré to Paterson New Jersey is the focus of this story of a wondrous life. Resistance to the controlled expectations of the white world give form and substance to Oscar’s passion for writing. No small source of this narrative’s powerful humor and the necessity for an atmosphere of magical realism is that we hear this story of Oscar de Leon, surely a life worth writing about, from his cousin Yunior, his picaresque other.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Tom Taaffe at