We aren't able to piece together Rudolfo's whole backstory, but we do know that this dude is Oscar's scary uncle. He shows up at the de León residence after a stint in prison. He has four kids with three different women. Not bad enough for you yet?
He also owns a gun and a knife, and starts doing serious drugs again (yes, we said again) at some point in the novel. Oh, and he's quite sexist, and loves to bring strippers home.
Although Rudolfo has some funny dialogue, he represents the sort of macho guy that the novel goes out of its way to skewer. Rudolfo often coaches Oscar on how to be a man, but in the end, our hero Oscar finds his own way.
Perhaps the novel is saying, Listen kids, you should become a man like Oscar. Not a man like this moron Rudolfo.
Max is one of Lola's boyfriends, but he's the good one. She starts dating him during her stay with La Inca in Santo Domingo. What does Lola like about Max? Well, for one thing he's a real gentleman.
Max is a really sweet guy and treats Lola well. In this way, he's the total opposite of Yunior. Whenever he and Lola have sex, Max tells her that he's a lucky guy. Lola also likes Max's job.
He takes movie reels from one theater to the next on his motorcycle. When Díaz first describes Max's job, you know Max isn't long for this world. It turns out to be a justified premonition. Right before Lola leaves the Domincan Republic, Max dies in a motorcycle accident.
Lola thinks fondly of Max and wishes she hadn't treated him so badly. Mostly, though, Max is a foil for Yunior in the book. There are two types of men in Lola's life: those who treat her well and those who don't. Max is in the first category. Yunior is in the second.
Jackie Cabral is the source of all Abelard's problems. (Well, Trujillo is really the source of all Abelard's problems, but still.) When Jackie hits puberty, she transforms into a beautiful woman. Trujillo, who seems to sample all the young girls in the Dominican Republic, takes notice.
But, like any other dad in the world, Abelard doesn't want to play along when Trujillo targets his own daughter. Plus, Jackie is oblivious to the danger Trujillo poses, and perhaps this makes Abelard want to protect her even more. Abelard ends up in prison for hiding Jackie from Trujillo.
His valiant act of rebellion turns out to be kind of a lost cause. While Trujillo doesn't get his hands on Jackie, his curse does catch up with her. She kills herself in two feet of water in her godparents' swimming pool. There are, of course, suspicions that this wasn't a suicide.
If you want a hint as to what importance Jackie has in this novel, look no further than "Abelard in Chains." Díaz talks about how Jackie's story is a common one: Trujillo is always ruining a whole family because they hid their daughter from him.
Lola's has Oscar's eyes and she reads a lot, so she's like Oscar in more ways than one. She's also dark-skinned, and she speaks Spanish and English. Word is that she wears three charms around her neck to further her from the fukú.
Yunior hopes that someday she'll show up at his house to look at Oscar's papers. That she'll pore over the documents and solve the fukú. You see, Lola's daughter reminds Yunior of what he could have had with Lola if he'd only been faithful.
This little girl also represents new hope for the Cabral family in their battle against Trujillo's curse. She is the sci-fi-look-to-the-future twist at the end of the novel.