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Drown Paperback – 6 Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571244971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571244973
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Drown is 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
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 By U. Sinha on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jacr100 VINE VOICE on 4 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on 29 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By High Seas Drifter on 25 July 2012
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lillis on 28 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
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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