Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review - Drown

Over the last week or so I have worked my way through a short story collection called Drown (Riverhead Books, 1996), by Junot Diaz. This is Diaz's first published work, although many of the stories have appeared in The New Yorker and other prestigious publications. This collection received critical acclaim, as has his subsequent first novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Pulitzer Prize winner, 2008)

There are ten stories in the 208 page book, and they are centered on the theme of Dominican children and fathers, would-be immigrants and immigrants, whether still in the Dominican Republic or in the United States, mostly New Jersey and New York.

My first impression of the stories as I first began the book was that I had no frame of reference with which to relate to the characters in the stories, but as I read further into the book I came to appreciate that I was being provided a glimpse into lives of people very different from me. This is a worthwhile book to read for a perspective very different from growing up in middle class suburban America, as I did.

I have already picked what I want to read after this, but I might very well come back to Diaz for The Brief Wondrous Life... (which is already on a shelf downstairs) after I read the next book already on my nightstand.

A solid 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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