Friday, November 03, 2017

Drown, by Junot Díaz

book cover Drown is a tiny collection of 10 stories about Dominican people, written from the viewpoint of an adult talking about their childhood. Up until the end of the book I was convinced I was reading the story of the same family, written in some weird ass way, and I am sure the stories were changed a little to reflect a similar point of reference; however in truth the 10 stories have little in common other than the fact that they are about Dominicans and that I liked each and every one of them.

It is so interesting to see a good writer pour out his heart on paper. I felt like a greedy vampire, drinking on the lifeblood of the writer. Junot Diaz is, of course, Dominican and the stories are partially autobiographical. I find fascinating how sure of themselves and focused are underprivileged people, as compared to my own experience of ever doubting myself and never feel like I am good enough. In a perverse way, the stories show how liberating it is to know and to be constantly reminded that you are not good enough. You handle rejection well, you always try, because any success, not matter how small, is a victory. No character in this book is ever happy, but they are rarely unhappy. Discontent? maybe. Rebellious and angry against the shit cards they have been dealt? sure. Not giving a shit about anyone but themselves? unfortunately so. But at every step we are reminded of the struggle of the characters to get anywhere in life.

Bottom line: to me it was a refreshing subject, with great writing style. I don't think I will actively pursue any other work from the author, but as a first contact, it was nice, short and to the point.

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