(Photo Credit: Marcia Wilson, taken at the 1st Harlem Book Fair July 1999)
Junot Díaz's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best American Short Stories. His highly-anticipated first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was greeted with rapturous reviews, including Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times calling it "a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices." His debut story collection, Drown, published eleven years prior to Oscar Wao, was also met with unprecedented acclaim; it became a national bestseller, won numerous awards, and has since grown into a landmark of contemporary literature. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Díaz lives in New York City and is a professor of creative writing at MIT.
Junot Díaz visits Google's Mountain View, CA, headquarters to discuss his novel "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao." This event took place September 26, 2007, as part of the Authors@Google Series.
Is How You Lose Her
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Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (September 11, 2012)
Junot Díaz burst into the literary world with Drown, a collection of indelible stories that revealed a major new writer with the "eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet" (Newsweek). His eagerly awaited first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, arrived like a thunderclap, topping best-of-the-year lists and winning a host of major awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. Now Díaz turns his prodigious talent to the haunting, impossible power of love.
The stories in This Is How You Lose Her, by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts. They capture the heat of new passion, the recklessness with which we betray what we most treasure, and the torture we go through - "the begging, the crawling over glass, the crying" - to try to mend what we've broken beyond repair. They recall the echoes that intimacy leaves behind, even where we thought we did not care. They teach us the catechism of affections: that the faithlessness of the fathers is visited upon the children; that what we do unto our exes is inevitably done in turn unto us; and that loving thy neighbor as thyself is a commandment more safely honored on platonic than erotic terms. Most of all, these stories remind us that the habit of passion always triumphs over experience, and that “love, when it hits us for real, has a half-life of forever.”
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
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Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (September 6, 2007)
"Díaz pulls it off with the same kind of eggheaded urban eloquence found in the work of Paul Beatty (The White Boy Shuffle), Victor LaValle (Slapboxing with Jesus), Mat Johnson (Drop) and his very own Drown. Geek swagger, baby. Get used to it. Notwithstanding his neological dazzle, he's anything but longwinded. And he's patient -- maddeningly so. D'az made us wait 11 years for this first novel and boom! -- it's over just like that. It's not a bad gambit, to always leave your audience wanting more. So brief and wondrous, this life of Oscar. Wow." 'Jabari Asim
This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today.
Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuk'-the curse that has haunted the Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.
D'az immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms D'az as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.
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Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Trade (July 1, 1997)
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. Díaz '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. 'Copyright 1996 Publishers Weekly
Johnson's work is included in the following anthologies:The Best African American Fiction (2009)
Publisher: Bantam (January 13, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
Introducing the first volume in an exciting
new annual anthology featuring the year's most outstanding
fiction by some of today's finest African American writers.
From stories that depict black life in times gone by to those that address contemporary issues, this inaugural volume gathers the very best recent African American fiction. Created during a period of electrifying political dialogue and cultural, social, and economic change that is sure to captivate the imaginations of writers and readers for years to come, these short stories and novel excerpts explore a rich variety of subjects. But most of all, they represent exceptional artistry.
Here youill find work by both established names and up-and-comers, ranging from Walter Dean Myers to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mat Johnson, and Junot Díaz . They write about subjects as diverse as the complexities of black middle-class life and the challenges of interracial relationships, a modern-day lynching in the South and a young musician's coming-of-age during the Harlem Renaissance. What unites these stories, whether set in suburbia, in eighteenth-century New York City, or on a Caribbean island that is supposed to be "brown skin paradise," is their creators' passionate engagement with matters of the human heart.
Masterful and engaging, this first volume of Best African American Fiction features stories you'll want to savor, share, and return to again and again.