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This chapter argues that Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a central text in an emerging set of dictatorship novels written by Latinos/as. Considering the tradition of the Latin American dictatorship novel within a broader hemispheric framework reveals that Latino/a novelists are generating a trans-American, counter-dictatorial imaginary that reconceptualizes dictatorial power by constructing intersectional analyses of authoritarianism, racial domination, heteropatriarchy, and imperialism in the hemisphere. The chapter contends that Oscar Wao performs and enacts its broader critique of dictatorial relations through the story’s form. It first demonstrates how the novel marginalizes and parodies the dictator in the overall narrative structure, reallocates responsibility for structures of domination, and centralizes nonnormative characters to challenge authoritarian power and hegemonic discourses. It then shows how the novel’s various structuring devices—specifically hearsay, footnotes, and silences—represent and critique formally the dissemination and repression of information under conditions of domination.

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