➽ [Reading] ➿ Drown By Junot Díaz ➲ – Horse-zine.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Drown

  1. says:

    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 slyer college 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 yet people 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.


  2. says:

    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 the visible 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.


  3. says:

    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, and 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 is like 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.


  4. says:

    There s this white boy in the class that assigned this collection taking pot shots at it for misogyny, which is real easy when you re white and male and your eyes glaze over how deeply white girls and their white skin and their white features inspire both veneration and self hatred Objectification, to an extent, but when white s the standard of beauty and safety and the Dominican Republic s the name of the game, either you talk imperialism and intercommunity issues or you re just another colonial savior brat looking to save the brown women from the brown men in the name of divide and conquer Besides, the gynephobic violence might be there, but I ve read enough works that glorify that sort of shit to know D az isn t doing the same The main short story cycle character Yunior doesn t go around blubbering at all the bad things he sees, but he does take it in without self reflexive excuses or the defensive bravado so commonly known as masculinity It s harder for me to poke at, as neither gender nor race are a common factor between me and him, but the normalization of hatred of women in literature leaves a bad taste that this particular collection did not spawn, so of course I have to peer at this result and wonder why.I m glad I didn t follow the class itinerary of reading only six or so of the ten, cause the nice and neat line of the beginning story and the titular story and the ending this is what it s sorta all about story is perfect for an MFA program and horrible for actually getting a sense of what is going on Proust in the time of race and heroine Sentiment in the time of the death of English dominance and the rise of destabilization of the canon The homeland s death, the way out s denigration, the destination might be life but there s way too many white supremacist slags running things for it to be anything other than a capitalistic jumpstart and or deathtrap Emotional bonds are a pain Sexuality s a pain The acrid freedom of individuals in the US is on one hand the collective familial unit of man of the household Dominican Republic is on the other, and both will never be an option so long as gringa serves a conceptual purpose of sociopolitical self defense If you re like me, a member of a white family stronghold living in the US, at one point in your life you hated these people You loathed them Never mind the billionaires buying up the legislation for fucking up those countries south of the border and the Gulf of Mexico even , there s an immigrant who only speaks Spanish fifty feet away Yeah it s a pain when people all over the world are headed towards your door, but that s what you get for always winning, always killing, always conquering, all over the world All the time.It s a mess, and I m not going to say I adored the abusive relationship of this collection s Aurora , but you don t boil anything down to a single issue and flip it off accordingly You can if that one thing inspires enough virulent disgust, but not before running through all the context first In my case, there s a Dominican American kid with a heart rocketing around these gritty and lovelocked pages, so this is not the kind of player on which I can lay the blame of the game.


  5. says:

    I can t do it I can t listen to books on tape Listening to tapes allows me one opportunity one time only to experience the writing That s not my paradigm It s not the way I ve grown to experience books I need to look at the physical words they mean something I need to reread sentences and paragraphs I need to touch pages and manipulate the weight and rectilinear dimensions of the book I need to interpret and define and orient and catalog the story into my own retrievable cranial network I need to stop and think about what I just read I need to see my progress through the book, the dogeared pages I need to reference an earlier exchange of dialogue I need to put the book down and figure out which of the characters in my life most closely represent the characters I m reading in the book Those are the kinds of connections, fiction to real life, in situ, that I ve been doing since I began reading Hardy Boy mysteries at the age of 10 It s how my brain has worked since I was begat And then, all those connections both conscious and synaptic , and curious definitions, and mental images get all mixed together in the gray matter, and out through my mouth and typing fingers, comes a rather normal human perspective of a book that I can then talk about with others Your reading experience, I suspect, occurs in a similar manner.But not with books on tape And not for me After a 14 hour driving trip listening to Drown, I m not prepared to write a review Somebody else read this book I merely heard it It was their voice and their intonation and their glottalizations and their cuss words Not mine It was not my experience I can no write reviews of movies for the same reason I don t have a relationship to the physicality of a DVD I don t understand why I can listen to a lecture or a performance or music or see a painting and retain the information I need, but I cannot have books read to me Please explain It s a phenomenon I can t figure out Drown sounded like a decent book, but I can t be sure In the same obsessive compulsive way that I have to check the door to ensure it s locked instead of trusting you to have locked it correctly, I need to read a book, not have you read it to me Reading is MY time it s not OUR time.Story, story, story,Does that vanity plate really say DUMP oh, story, story, story,Damn, I just dropped a handful of sunflower seeds, did they get into theoh, story, story, story,Why don t you drive, and pass me, and stop staring so longoh, story, story, story,Exit 264, was that the exit with the cheapest gas last time oh, story, story, story,So, 270 miles at 70 mph will should get me there byoh, story, story, story,An RV towing a boat towing a jeep with 5 bicycles on a rear rack man, if that thing rolledoh, story, story, story,I gotta peeoh, story, story, story.I abstain from writing a review until I can read this book So, in the meantime, I default to an irresolute 3 stars.


  6. says:

    I was lucky enough to have seen Junot Diaz read, and that cabr n was hilarious His talk was fresh, lewd, direct, sly, sweet, and honest Exactly like his writing He spoke of how Hip Hop had informed his life and work, and how a writer must use experience to shape their art auto biography and fiction helix together His street talk and easy manner reminded me of the slick Mexican kids I grew up with with due respect for the differences in Latino cultures No amount of vernacular speech could front on the fact that he s an insightful and sensitive academic however, which is again mirrored in his writing Drown depicts poverty and struggle in a matter of fact way It doesn t inspire pity or admiration, it s neither saccharine nor acrid but there are moments of each of these things.To be able to describe finding a pair of jeans with the pockets turned out in a search for whatever by an addict semi exgirlfriend, and making it sound sort of cute is masterful The leaky roofed, chronically hungry, parasite infested childhood sounds almost fun, but yet, you can tell that it isn t The strangest combination of flavors in the book is the pride respect disdain that is held for a father that abandoned his family in the DR for years while farting around up in the US Because of the archetypical nature of these stories it felt like a wild biography, and I had to remind myself that they were only stories His writing style, once again very much like his speech, was clear and easy, if a little unconventional, and I had to backpedal here or there to get the gist Mostly though it flowed so smoothly I was done with it before I realized A great read.


  7. says:

    Full review to followHe s an amazing writer but the story wasn t nearly as captivating as brief and wondrous life so I couldn t give it the full 4 stars.


  8. says:

    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


  9. says:

    Video review


  10. says:

    This book is made out of short stories, but they all explore Yunior s experience as a Dominican Republic immigrant, his relationship with his family, the idea of masculinity, race and women The writing makes this book stand out, Yunior s life being a fairly average one It just sticks with you and pops in my head unexpectedly It s not plot heavy, but focuses on the main character and how he interacts with others.I like how the events are not portrayed in order, because the author uses this to get us to sympathize with Yunior s pain so that, when we find out that often times he is complicit in the outcome, we still can t hate or dismiss him I like to compare Ysrael he who struggles with God and Yunior son struggling with his father s legacy.It s a little silly to rate them individually since they are too connected, but out of force of habit, I did it Ysrael two brothers are on a mission to unmask Ysrael, who was attacked by a pig as a child set in the Dominican Republic 3 stars Fiesta, 1980 a son questioning how his father s affair will affect the family reunion set in the United States 3 stars Aurora a drug dealer can t forget his drug addicted ex girlfriend set in the United States 3 stars Aguantando scenes depicting family life before the father comes back into their lives set in the Dominican Republic 4 stars Drown Yunior s best friend comes back from college and Yunior avoids him set in the United States 4 stars Boyfriend Yunior handles the aftermath of his break up while his neighbors are also breaking up set in the United States 4 stars Edison, New Jersey new job and ex girlfriend story set in the United States 3 stars How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie how to bring over girls you won t see again set in the United States 3 stars No Face how Ysrael handles the world set in the Dominican Republic 3 stars Negocios Yunior s father s imigration story and his messy family life set in the United States 3 stars


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Drown download Drown, read online Drown, kindle ebook Drown, Drown 4dd1f9d24101 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