From the beloved and award-winning author Junot Díaz, a spellbinding saga of a family’s journey through the New World.
A coming-of-age story of unparalleled power, Drown introduced the world to Junot Díaz's exhilarating talents. It also introduced an unforgettable narrator— Yunior, the haunted, brilliant young man who tracks his family’s precarious journey from the barrios of Santo Domingo to the tenements of industrial New Jersey, and their epic passage from hope to loss to something like love. Here is the soulful, unsparing book that made Díaz a literary sensation.
The 10 tales in this intense debut collection plunge us into the emotional lives of people redefining their American identity. Narrated by adolescent Dominican males living in the struggling communities of the Dominican Republic, New York and New Jersey, these stories chronicle their outwardly cool but inwardly anguished attempts to recreate themselves in the midst of eroding family structures and their own burgeoning sexuality. The best pieces, such as "Aguantando'' (to endure), "Negocios,'' "Edison, NJ'' and the title story, portray young people waiting for transformation, waiting to belong. Their worlds generally consist of absent fathers, silent mothers and friends of questionable principles and morals. Diaz's restrained prose reveals their hopes only by implication. It's a style suited to these characters, who long for love but display little affection toward each other. Still, the author's compassion glides just below the surface, occasionally emerging in poetic passages of controlled lyricism, lending these stories a lasting resonance. BOMC and QPB alternates; foreign rights sold in Holland, Norway, Sweden, the U.K., Spain, France and Germany. FYI: Diaz was the only writer chosen by Newsweek as one of the 10 "New Faces of 1996." Drown is a nominee for the 1997 QPB "New Voices'' award. "Ysrael'' will be included in Best American Short Stories 1996 and "Edison, NJ" will appear in the summer 1996 issue of the Paris Review. Riverhead will publish Diaz's novel, The Cheater's Guide to Love, in 1997.
Review on "Drown"
Beautifully written book. My High-school English teacher assigned this book to read for class. I absolutely fell in love. Great choice!
Moving, insightful and authentic stories you can't put down
These stories are compelling from the beginning. I kept thinking of people I know from the Dominican neighborhoods in NYC where I live and work and from the Puerto Rican family into which I married many years ago. These stories so thoroughly delve into the inner lives of its characters. Mr. Diaz knows how to convey through action and circumstance and dynamics between characters what few words could do as effectively. You sense what they feel and what they think rather than learn about it through dialogue or inner speech in the stories. I came to the stories with a deep respect for the people of the Dominican diaspora and also very familiar with the experience of Puerto Ricans and still felt a sense of awe that only comes with opening a box of something completely unknown and looking inside to see what's in it. I have since read both the Spanish and English versions of Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar and was blown away by the creativity that drove the temporal aspects of the novel, as well as its intriguing characters who defy definitions so often oversimplified and stereotyped in the United States, not to mention the expertise of the management of the mixing of English and Spanish in each of the versions. Can't wait for more!
reminded me of home... mi republica dominicana