- The novel begins with an introduction of a concept called fuku americanus. Essentially, this is a curse. Yunior, the narrator, hints that the arrival of the fuku into the Caribbean Islands is in due (at least in part) to the dictator, Rafael Trujillo.
- Yunior informs readers that the entire story is a descriptive account of the fuku that plagued Oscar’s family, and all of the downfall that it caused in the lives of those around him.
- To counteract the force of a fuku, one must say the word “zafa”. Yunior suggests that his telling of the story is a “zafa” and hopes to ward off the fuku that has infested Oscar.
- The idea of fuku adds to the supernatural element of the story, which is further augmented by Oscar himself with his desire to pursue fantastical stories and paranormal games and writings.