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Drown Paperback – July 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; First Edition edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573226068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573226066
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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, devestating 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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. (Sept.) 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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Customer Reviews

Junot Diaz is a good writer.
JackOfMostTrades
Diaz's language is simple yet beautiful, and his themes are universal yet deeply challenging.
Willy Cowles
It was weird reading it because i felt like i already knew the story.
C. Garcia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
This exceedingly strong debut collection of stories is set in the ghettos of the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, but most of all in the invisible psychic landscape of the immigrants who move from the first to the latter. Six of the ten stories here may be familiar to readers of The New Yorker, Story, or other well-regarded literary mags in whose pages they previously appeared. Díaz's stories offer grimly matter-of-fact accounts of harsh childhoods in harsh environments where fathers are either feared or absent and mothers are exhausted and resigned to their fate.
The stories set in the DR are from a youth's perspective, and have the unmistakable whiff of the autobiographical about them. In "Ysrael", the narrator and his brother are sent to the campo for the summer to live with relatives. There, they are casually cruel to a local boy whose face was disfigured by a pig. The boy later turns up as the subject of "No Face", which attempts to delve into his mind, with lesser effect than almost all the other stories. A third story, "Arguantando" follows the family from "Ysrael" as they wait to hear from their father, who has moved to the US. The final and longest story in the collection, "Negocios", explains the father's journey to the US and his many trials and tribulations before he can bring his family over.
The stories set in the US follow the young boy as he grows older in New Jersey-where shoplifting, drug dealing, and eventually work replace the poverty of the slums of Santa Domingo. "Fiesta, 1980" is the best car-sickness story you're likely to read and "How To Date" is a quick guide to interracial dating, perhaps overly flip when compared to the other stories. In "Aurora", a teenage drug dealer (the young boy grown older?
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Junot Diaz writes fiction without flourish. His words are stark, edgy, direct - and his stories cut through stereotype right to the quick of the truth. DROWN pulses with the rhythms of Spanish and New Jersey accents as it explores lives in both The Dominican Republic and Jersey City. Mostly adolescents and young adults, the characters struggle against a dimming or obscured future, and tend to live for the moment, even as they hope for something better. The most compelling stories are "Ysrael," "Aurora," "Edison, New Jersey," and "How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie." This is a brief book, only ten stories and only a few over 20 pages long, but it packs power with its brevity.

I highly recommend this book for those with an interest in Latino and/or multicultural fiction, and for those who enjoy short story collections.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Alan Cambeira on September 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
This explosive collection of ten amazing stories vividly chronicling the Dominican immigrant experience is starkly realistic and daring. The stories are not necessarily pleasant, but are certainly captivating tales of the resilience of the human soul and of the will to survive in the face of horrendous odds. Diaz is intense and powerful, yet he possesses what I personally find to be a calculated calm in his mesmerizing prose. Moreover, he is totally unapologetic ---and that's a plus. I thoroughly enjoyed every piece in this stunning collection. Junot Diaz is at the top of my list. You are missing a rare literary experience if you fail to read him.
Very Highly Recommended !
Alan Cambeira
Author of AZUCAR! The Story of Sugar (a novel)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nadine Seide on August 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Before I purchased the book I read an on-line interview of Diaz by Edwidge Danticat. In this interview Diaz said that he didn't like it too much when readers thought that the book was autobiographical in nature. In the sense that it meant he wasn't creative enough to write pure fiction. I have to admit that half way through the book I thought that it must be part autobiography because the stories were so personal and the emotions bare and exposed. My favorite is "Aurora". Readers who expected romanticized Latina writing might be disappointed, but that is really just too bad. Diaz' style is authentic, modern, and edgy. On a personal level, it gave me a glimpse of daily life on the other side of my island. I absolutely loved this book and I recommend it whole-heartedly.
Enjoy!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By joejoe99@easyway.net on June 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
When this book first came out I approached it with apprehension because it had been received with such fanfare by the literati and laymen alike. Indeed, so great was the hype that I honestly believed that regardless of the quality of the book, It would fail to live up to the praise bestowed upon it. Thus, you may imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I realized that, in fact, Junot Diaz is an incredibly talented writer. I've read collections of short stories that showcase the skills of some of the most gifted writers of the 20th century, and, honestly, Diaz has written some stories that surpass anything I had read before. True, some of Diaz's stories are not as effective as the majority, yet that is because most of the stories in Drown are bona fide gems. I know I'm getting too effusive here, so I'll stop. Still, If you like to read good literature, this is a book that you definitely should consider. I look forward to reading Diaz's first novel.
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