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Drown [Paperback]

Junot Diaz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

6 Nov 2008
Originally published in 1997, Drown instantly garnered terrific acclaim. Moving from the barrios of the Dominican Republic to the struggling urban communities of New Jersey, these heartbreaking, completely original stories established Díaz as one of contemporary fiction's most exhilarating new voices.

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Drown + This Is How You Lose Her + The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571244971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571244973
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 12.6 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,840 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.

About the Author

Junot Diaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from Cornell University. His collection of short stories, Drown, was described as 'a dazzlingly talented first book' by Hermione Lee in the Independent on Sunday. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is his debut novel. He teaches creative writing at MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Technology).

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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Not Drowing but very much Alive 24 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 and Miami. The stories are narrated by and the action is seen from the perspective of Yunior, the second son of the family whose life and times are brilliantly outlined in the stories. Drown is the precursor to the debut full length novel, The Brief Life of Oscar Wao which was received with high critical acclaim.

The collection opens with Ysrael, in which the narrator and his brother, Rafa, takes a journey to see a boy who was savaged by a pig when he was a toddler. Ysrael is the cast off, the unwanted and his plight is made worse by mockery. When the two young brothers encounter the boy the older brother, Rafa, gives Ysrael a beating for no apparent reason other than to jeer at his ugliness.

Immediately, the reader is attuned to one of Diaz's themes - namely the harshness of growing up in Santo Domingo. Using unadorned language, our narrator takes us into a harsh world of broken families, economic hardship and dubious friendships. But at the same time, Diaz reveals human qualities of courage and tenacity.

These are not short stories of mere gloom and doom. There is also a light and jovial aspect to some of the stories. In "How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl or Halfie"; the tongue in cheek advice about how to date a girl is humorous and there are some acute observations.

Perhaps my favourite story is Aguantando. In this story we are taken back to Santo Domingo. Yunior relives part of his child hood without a father. It is a story that is at once touching and revealing of life as a poor boy in Santo Domingo.
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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 6 months ago by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars So familiar
I think most immigrants will identify with the stories in Drown. It clearly & truthfully describes experience s of immigrants.
Published 21 months ago by Ms. S. A. Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars Jealous
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. Read more
Published on 25 July 2012 by High Seas Drifter
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 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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