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Drownby Junot Diaz
The world in Junot Diaz's short story collection Drown is gritty, sad, and hilarious, and the pictures he paints of life in the Dominican Republic, and of Dominican immigrants in America, is rich with pathos. When Drown came out in 1996, Diaz was hailed as one of the "new voices" — and already, the highest praise for a young writer is to be called the "next Junot Diaz."
Synopses & Reviews
With ten stories that move from the barrios of the Dominican Republic to the struggling urban communities of New Jersey, Junot Diaz makes his remarkable debut. In "Ysrael", two brothers hunt a disfigured boy who hides behind a mask; in "No Face", the mirror is flipped and perspective belongs to the tormented. In "Fiesta, 1980", a spirited family gathering plays against the noiseless hum of a father's infidelities. In "Boyfriend", a young man eavesdrops on the woman next door and colors in the life overheard with the drama born of intense longing. And always, it seems there is the throb of waiting: in "Aguantando", for the fulfillment of a promise; in "Negocios", for rescue; in "Aurora", for respite; in "Drown", for resolution.
"This stunning collection of stories offers an unsentimental glimpse of life among the immigrants from the Dominican Republic — and other front-line reports on the ambivalent promise of the American dream — by an eloquent and original writer who describes more than physical dislocation in conveying the price that is paid for leaving culture and homeland behind" San Francisco Chronicle
"Junot Diaz is a major new writer. His world explodes off the page into the canon of our literature and our hearts." Walter Mosley
"Ever since Diaz began publishing short stories in venues as prestigious as the New Yorker, he has been touted as a major new talent, and his debut collection affirms this claim." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Diaz expertly captures the rage and alienation of the Dominican immigrant experience." Robert Spillman, Salon
"This stunning collection of stories offers an unsentimental glimpse of life among the immigrants from the Dominican Republic--and other front-line reports on the ambivalent promise of the American dream--by an eloquent and original writer who describes more than physical dislocation in conveying the price that is paid for leaving culture and homeland behind." --San Francisco Chronicle.
Junot Diaz's stories are as vibrant, tough, unexotic, and beautiful as their settings - Santa Domingo, Dominican Neuva York, the immigrant neighborhoods of industrial New Jersey with their gorgeously polluted skyscapes. Places and voices new to our literature yet classically American: coming-of-age stories full of wild humor, intelligence, rage, and piercing tenderness. And this is just the beginning. Diaz is going to be a giant of American prose. --Francisco Goldman
Ever since Diaz began publishing short stories in venues as prestigious as The New Yorker, he has been touted as a major new talent, and his debut collection affirms this claim. Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Diaz uses the contrast between his island homeland and life in New York City and New Jersey as a fulcrum for his trenchant tales. His young male narrators are teetering into precarious adolescence. For these sons of harsh or absent fathers and bone-weary, stoic mothers, life is an unrelenting hustle. In Santo Domingo, they are sent to stay with relatives when the food runs out at home; in the States, shoplifting and drugdealing supply material necessities and a bit of a thrill in an otherwise exhausting and frustrating existence. There is little affection, sex is destructive, conversation strained, and even the brilliant beauty of a sunset is tainted, its colors the product of pollutants. Keep your eye on Diaz; his first novel is on the way. --Booklist
An exquisite, blistering debut novel Three brothers tear their way through childhood smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklynhes Puerto Rican, shes whiteand their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times. Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful. Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.
About the Author
Diaz was the only writer chosen by Newsweek as one of the 10 "New Faces of 1996." Drown was a nominee for the 1997 QPB "New Voices" award. "Ysrael" was included in Best American Short Stories 1996 and "Edison, NJ" appeared in the summer 1996 issue of the Paris Review.
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