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Drown [Paperback]

Junot Diaz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £7.43 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

20 Oct 1997
Junot Diaz made his remarkable debut as a writer with this collection of stories that move from the barrios of the Dominican Republic to the struggling urban communities of New Jersey. The stories are all unflinching and strong and Diaz's prose crackles with an electric sense of discovery. In 'Ysrael', two brothers hunt a disfigured boy who hides behind a mask; in 'No Face', the mirror is flipped and the 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 colours in the life overheard with his own intense longing. There is an urgency and clarity to these beautifully crafted stories that renders them entirely of the moment. Diaz has veered off the well-travelled roads of contemporary fiction and captured a range of experience previously uncharted and now emphatically his own.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (20 Oct 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571190634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571191949
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 12.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 849,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

The first book by Junot Díaz, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Junot Díaz is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. He is the recipient of a PEN/Malamud Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Born in Santo Domingo, Díaz is a professor at MIT.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Junot Diaz has been hailed as one of a new breed of East Coast talents. His insight into the Spanish American experience in the US can be deservedly labeled as profoundly moving and richly complex. It is astonishing how little attention has thus far been paid to this element of American culture, but let's hope that Diaz's work will go some way to redressing this imbalance.
The stories in Drown focus on characters who have managed to survive domestic abuse, pandemic crime and crippling prejudice. Despite the recurrent and critically important theme of social dislocation, Diaz doesn't seek to simplify or patronize. His characters are individuals who make a convincing attempt to breathe beyond the pages of the book.
Diaz is a sympathetic narrator and his characters are emphatically three-dimensional. In the first story, told from the perspective of a young boy, his bullying and adulterous father is contrasted with his benevolent and loving Mother. However the father is not all beast and despite the misery he inflicts, the man is also full of a bitter regret for all that he has allowed to be lost between himself and his wife.
Despite their innate fragility, Diaz's characters have a revitalizing vigour. I think of the schoolboys who feel remorse for hunting and taunting the school freak, and the lover who regularly forgives his largely absent girlfriend who steals from him to feed her drug habit. These and other characters disappear, sometimes to return or more frequently indefinitely lost in a haze of pollution and dirt.
I recommend this book as an astonishingly effective piece of literature. More than this, there are, to my mind, few contemporary parallels. Buy it, read it, recommend it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars voted best year after year 16 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has been on my reading list for a creative writing course I teach for several years now, along with Maya Angelou, Michael Frayn, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jenny Diski. And every year students have unanimously proclaimed this the best written and most impressive book on the reading list. Diaz has an ability to make writing seem effortless and artless. His settings and characters are real, the situations believable and the narrative voice compelling. He does not pander to the reader, retaining Spanish words with no glossary but they are used in a way that makes sense in their context and they provide a flavour of speech and thought that takes us into his world. The only writer I could fairly compare him with is Raymond Carver - the same truthfulness and directness - but stylistically Diaz is the superior writer. Recommended for any aspiring writer.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Already a classic 29 Dec 2006
DROWN by Junot Diaz spoke to me like no other work of fiction that I've read in many years. It was the first time where I saw myself in the characters and felt that I knew them intimately. They were like my own family, brothers, cousins, mother and father that I could almost feel that the stories were right out of my own childhood.

Diaz's stories about Domincans in the Dominican Republic and the U.S. The stories perfectly capture the struggle with poverty in the characters' native country as well as the United States. But these stories are not didactic pieces but rather human stories about family, love, and loss. With characters so real, that the reader will wonder when they will see them again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great short stories 28 Feb 2013
By Lillis
I really enjoyed these short stories, a segment of literature that I have come to appreciate in recent years, not least thanks to the genius Alice Munro. I loved Diaz's language and did not necessarily want to have an English translation to each word. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and wonderful at the same time 4 Oct 2012
By jacr100 VINE VOICE
A set of short stories that moves from claustrophobic Dominican townships to anonymous diasporic New York.

Car sickness; dreams of a conventional future with a crack-addict partner; a boy's face savaged by a pig; a guide to interracial dating; stealing while delivering pool tables. These are nostalgic glimpses, but there is arguably enough interconnection for the book to count as a novel.

Broken families, poverty and drug culture give a gritty edge to the original storylines, and occasionally hilarious, occasionally poignant, always honest characters keep the reader close.

Lively rhythm, magnetic idiosyncratic prose: great modern literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So familiar 15 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think most immigrants will identify with the stories in Drown. It clearly & truthfully describes experience s of immigrants.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jealous 25 July 2012
I'd love to write like this. The stories are evocative, touching and hilarious. I discovered Diaz on a recent trip through Central America, after picking up OSCAR WAO. That book deeply moved me, and this collection of short stories continues to. Having visited the Dominican Republic, I wish I'd met some more of the people, as Diaz paints beautiful portraits of them.

I'm lucky enough to have picked up enough Spanish over the years to have understood the dialogue without the need for a glossary. But if, as some have claimed, Diaz didn't want a glossary inserted in the recent addition, then this strikes me as a little shortsighted, despite the Spanish words lending music to the dialogue. For example, I'm sure friends of mine would love the stories but, without a glossary, they may give up on the book; that would indeed be a great shame, as writing like this deserves to be read.

I swap a lot of books after reading them, as I like to keep a concise collection. This book has been added to it. Some you just have to keep.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly disappointing
That was a book that offered nothing to me as a reader. Boring, no emotions. I kept reading with the hope that it will become more enjoyable after reading all the reviews but it... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jane
4.0 out of 5 stars Drown
I previously read Oscar Wao and bought this as I thought I'd enjoy it. I've only read the first 3 stories and it is really difficult to put the book down, Diaz really does know how... Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2012 by Alex Pughe
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
This is simply beautiful writing. Stories about real characters, writing that takes you deep into their crazy lives until you feel as though you knew them. Also quite funny.
Published on 9 Jan 2012 by Shunzi
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
A masterpiece of literary fiction. Diaz writes with not just remarkable skill and detail but also an ability to give his stories a low-slung hip-hop rhythm that no other writer in... Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2010 by Junkyard Dog
3.0 out of 5 stars Drown
There is something very refreshing about this gritty tale. It is a crystal clear image of the life of the dispossessed and the struggles they face, little frames of humanity... Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2010 by Book 1981
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Drowing but very much Alive
First published in 1996, Junot Diaz's Drown is a collection of short stories. They are set in Santo Domingo and the typical US, African Caribbean diaspora of New York, New Jersey... Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2009 by Herman Norford
5.0 out of 5 stars The brilliance is in capturing the tensions...
These stories are all different but form a continuum, overlapping and coming from different angles and times. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2009 by stevieby
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