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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 Diaz s work is unflinching and strong, and these stories crackle with an electric sense of discovery Diaz evokes a world in which fathers are gone, mothers fight with grim determination for their families and themselves, and the next generation inherits the casual cruelty, devastating ambivalence, and knowing humor of lives circumscribed by poverty and uncertainty In Drown, Diaz has harnessed the rhythms of anger and release, frustration and joy, to indelible effect The cursor keeps blinking at me, daring me to try and convey the magnitude of love I have for Diaz s writing but I can tI m a failure Every story needs is filled with sentences dialogue that are gaspably good My fovorite sentence in the collection is from the story, How To Date a Brown Girl, Black Girl, White Girl or Halfie It is as follows Run a hand through your hair, like the white boys do, even though the only thing that runs easily through your hair is Africa.See what I mean As when you re listening to some old piece of music you never thought much of, it could be a long ago seemingly throwaway pop dance number like This Old Heart of Mine by the Isley Brothers, or some slyercollege degreed album track like let s say Life During Wartime by Talking Heads, and you suddenly jump up and think but but really, this is a masterpiece it s not just another painting by numbers from Motown, it s not just another sneery too clever construction you skip while you re As when you re listening to some old piece of music you never thought much of, it could be a long ago seemingly throwaway pop dance number like This Old Heart of Mine by the Isley Brothers, or some slyercollege degreed album track like let s say Life During Wartime by Talking Heads, and you suddenly jump up and think but but really, this is a masterpiece it s not just another painting by numbers from Motown, it s not just another sneery too clever construction you skip while you re trying to find Once in a Lifetime, Juno Diaz tales from the front line of squalour and immigration aren t just another vicarious thrillseeking tour of Poverty and Ignorance Hell, not just another wound baring stigmata showing howl from yetpeople from yet another abyss you wish you didn t know about They re that too, just like This Old Heart of Mine is a great dance number, but there s this thing called an authentic voice, or whatever the term is Now this is a thing you can t buy with money It s where no one but this particular author would know how to describe this person or that circumstance, this pain or that crime, the unique inside the generic A twist of brain and language, and eyes and heart and blood wrapped round it too Junot Diaz is the author, Drown is the book The best story is the last and longest, but only because of what went before Gloomily overhanging the earlier tales of kids trying to grow up in the Dominican Republic like a cloud full of bad rain is the father who left for America, who never came back, and who stopped sending money, and who never sent for his family to join him What a shit We get used to the banal outrage of not knowing what this useless fool did when he got there, what was his big fat excuse, how could he abandon his wife and kids, etc etc so that there s a real frisson when we discover that the last 47 pages will answer all these questions, and in a great reversal of perspective, you find yourself looking out of this bad man s face, sleeping in his cockroach rooms and working his 16 hour shifts and against your whole will, you understand Great stuff, and not one wasted word There are several recurrent themes running through this collection the lost father, the regained father, the lost love, brotherhood, betrayal often sexual but the one I found most striking was that of facelessness You would think that facelessness is synonymous with invisibility, but here it is not There is something within that facelessness, which makes the person all thevisible scorned, pitied, hated, feared, and by some, treated with great kindness The faced want the faceless to There are several recurrent themes running through this collection the lost father, the regained father, the lost love, brotherhood, betrayal often sexual but the one I found most striking was that of facelessness You would think that facelessness is synonymous with invisibility, but here it is not There is something within that facelessness, which makes the person all thevisible scorned, pitied, hated, feared, and by some, treated with great kindness The faced want the faceless to be gone for good because they represent the worst fear That you, too, might one day suffer this fate where all that defines you to the outside world is stripped away, where you are a stranger in a strange land where you are unloved and unlovable Ysrael is the boy with no face, his face having been mostly chewed off by a pig when he was an infant Because of this he wears a mask and awaits a humanitarian intervention in which doctors in Canada are meant to restore his face But this day never seems to come and he is scorned and beaten, but he is also an object of intense interest There is something about him that fascinates the other boys if only they could just see behind his mask But even when they do, it infuriates them, repulses them There is nothing in seeing his face that makes them feel better about themselves It only makes them feel worse,powerless Then when the reader sees the world from his point of view in No Face, we understand that though he is deformed and maligned there is still great hope and beauty in his world, though he might not realize it There is something strong deep within that will keep him alive despite the obstacles He is a survivor He will run So Ysrael stands for the best hope of all of the faceless within these stories and the message is to keep going, keep running, keep moving forward no matter how people will push you down and try to keep you from being seen In that, a book, which might otherwise be bleak, I found quite hopeful And so, in the end, what you have is a collection of stories that are beautiful, necessary, and heartbreaking Read it Yeah, yeah, once you get the Pulitzer your earlier works may be scavenged retold and republished and possibly if you ARE the literatti re read.This is my first foray into the infamous short story terrain animated by Junot Diaz Yes his first novel was outstanding, just its level of genius is constantly debated everyone is aware it s really f in good Drown is endearing An autobiography of ten short stories that are exquisite maps into the writer s early life in the D.R and in Amer Yeah, yeah, once you get the Pulitzer your earlier works may be scavenged retold and republished and possibly if you ARE the literatti re read.This is my first foray into the infamous short story terrain animated by Junot Diaz Yes his first novel was outstanding, just its level of genius is constantly debated everyone is aware it s really f in good Drown is endearing An autobiography of ten short stories that are exquisite maps into the writer s early life in the D.R and in America Junot Diaz is the latino equivalent of David Sedaris Each one of his vignettes is a colorful juicy morsel word association Starburst candy While his story is his own, Diaz asks you to empathize with him and relate This is extremely doable.I am aware that Junot Diaz is a super competent storyteller, but he does subscribe to this Dominican Man attitudes toward women and about how owning things including, well, women makes you a man He endorses this mysogynistic attitude but he islike a mirror in this way extremely unapologetic and still personal.Highlight the first tale is harsh and sad The protagonist is evil and behaves contrary to how a hero usually performs But the penultimate story revisits the little boy from the first, No Face , 1 5th of the book is about the little disfigured boy, and you know the weight of this in the author s psyche and at this moment you see magic materialize a writer s guilt leads to some true immortal form the best type, in my opinion, of atonement