Well, you know, part of the thing that really interested me about the reading experience is that a lot of times we forget that a large portion of what we’re reading we don’t understand. And most of the time we just skip over it because it’s sort of implicit.
We don’t understand a word, we’ll just skip over it and keep going. But, you know, that’s like a basic part of communication, you know, unintelligibility. And so if you’re an immigrant, you’re so used to not being able to understand large chunks of any conversation, large chunks of the linguistic, cultural codes.
And part of what I was trying to get at when writing “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is that, you know, I wanted everybody at one moment to kind of feel like an immigrant in this book, that there would be one language chain that you might not get. And that it was OK.
Like, it might provoke a new, like, a reaction to want to know. And that’s good because it’ll make you go look and read other books and start a conversation but that life and the experience that most of us have in the world is that we tend to live in a world where a good portion of what we hear, see and experience is unintelligible to us. And that to me feels more real than if everything was transparent for every reader."
Junot Diaz (x)