by Junot Díaz


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From the beloved and award-winning author Junot Díaz, a spellbinding saga of a family’s journey through the New World.
A coming-of-age story of unparalleled power, Drown introduced the world to Junot Díaz's exhilarating talents. It also introduced an unforgettable narrator— Yunior, the haunted, brilliant young man who tracks his family’s precarious journey from the barrios of Santo Domingo to the tenements of industrial New Jersey, and their epic passage from hope to loss to something like love. Here is the soulful, unsparing book that made Díaz a literary sensation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573226066
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/28/1997
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 82,005
Product dimensions: 5.16(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.59(d)
Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed DrownThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award;  This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist; and a debut picture book, Islandborn. 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.

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Praise for DROWN by Junot Díaz

“There have been several noteworthy literary debuts this year, but Díaz deserves to be singled out for the distinctiveness and caliber of his voice, and for his ability to sum up a range of cultural and cross-cultural experiences in a few sharp images…. The motifs—the father absent and indifferent to the family, his infidelities and bullying while they’re united, the shabby disrepair of northern New Jersey—resonate from story to story and give Drown its cohesion and weight…. These are powerful and convincing stories. And what is powerful in these stories isn’t their cultural message, though that is strong, but a broader, more basic theme…. These 10 finely achieved short stories reveal a writer who will still have something to say after he has used up his own youthful experiences and heartaches.”

—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Talent this big will always make noise…. [The ten stories in Drown] vividly evoke Díaz’s hardscrabble youth in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, where ‘our community was separated from all the other communities by a six-lane highway and the dump.’ Díaz has the dispassionate eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet…”


“Junot Díaz’s stories are as vibrant, tough, unexotic, and beautiful as their settings—Santo Domingo, Dominican Nueva York, the immigrant neighborhoods of industrial New Jersey with their gorgeously polluted skyscapes. Places and voices new to our literature yet classically American: coming-of-age stories full of wild humor, intelligence, rage, and piercing tenderness. And this is just the beginning. Díaz is going to be a giant of American prose.”

—Francisco Goldman

“This stunning collection of stories is an unsentimental glimpse at life among immigrants from the Dominican Republic—and another front-line report on the ambivalent promise of the American Dream. Díaz is writing about more than physical dislocation. There is a price for leaving culture and homeland behind…In this cubistic telling, life is marked by relentless machismo, flashes of violence and severe tests of faith from loved ones. The characters are weighted down by the harshness of their circumstances, yet Díaz gives his young narrators a wry sense of humor.”

—San Francisco Chronicle

“Graceful and raw and painful and smart…His prose is sensible poetry that moves like an interesting conversation…The pages turn and all of a sudden you’re done and you want more.”

—The Boston Globe

“A stunning and kinetic first collection of short stories…. Díaz has the ear of a poet (a rarity among fiction writers), and many of his stories are piloted by a compelling and often fiercely observed first-person narration. Díaz’s precise language drives the accumulation of particular concrete sensory details to the universals of broader, nuanced experience. Comparisons to writers like Sandra Cisneros or Jess Mowry or even Edwidge Danticat (all of whom are at the top of my list) are probably inevitable, but Díaz distinguishes himself thoroughly in this book…. In an era of the glib, hip ‘I’ve-seen-it-all-nothing-shocks-me-anymore’ narrator, Díaz doesn’t back away from sentiment. Though he is never mawkish, his stories are richly textured in feeling…Díaz is a life-smart, savvy writer who, because he’s honest and often funny, very gently breaks your heart.”

—Hungry Mind Review

“New Jersey and the Dominican Republic are thousands of miles apart, but in Junot Díaz’s seductive collection of short stories, they seem to blend into each other as effortlessly as Díaz weaves the words that bring to life the recurring characters that populate both places…. In a sense, this book is about that old and much misunderstood Latino demon, machismo, which only recently is being seen as something not innate to Latino males, but rather as the result of their often futile attempts to reconcile their dual roles as men (in the eyes of their families) and as mere boys (in the eyes of the outside world)…. There’s a lot of artistry in this book, and where there is art, there is always hope.”

—Austin American-Statesman

“Remarkable…His style is succinct and unadorned, yet the effect is lush and vivid, and after a few lines you are there with him, living in his documentary, his narration running through your head almost like your own thoughts…. Vignettes…observed with depth and tenderness but most of all with a simple honesty that rings as clear and true as a wind chime.”

—The Dallas Morning News

“Mesmerizingly honest, heart-breaking and full of promise…Tales of life among the excluded classes of the diaspora, they tread fearlessly where lesser writers gush and politicize—which is exactly their political and aesthetic power.”

—Si Magazine


—Entertainment Weekly

“The talent is strong and individual…. Díaz’s languageis careful and astringent…powerful and revelatory.”

—Houston Chronicle

Customer Reviews

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Drown 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Although it started out slow, it brought back many memories from my home . Dominicam Republic contributed a lot. The stories, slang, names everything was wrapped up into a gift of Dominican culture. This book is by far my top favorite. I was emotionally attactched to the Character Yunior, that was a very unusual thing. Coming from a place where we both came from and having a similar backgrounf / childhood it was astonishing. I loved this book, i suggest you buy it. Short story and all you will grow fond of it, you'll be sad when it will end.
OneMorePage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young Dominican immigrant to the US tells of his fatherless youth in the poverty of the Dominican Republic, of his father and mother's reunion when he is nine, and of his adolescence in New Jersey.This very well-done story is told from both his point of view and from his father's point of view. Diaz does a great job of showing the social and economic factors that led to this young man becoming who he is.This short book is well worth your time, I highly recommend it.
miriamparker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Now THESE are some short stories.
bplma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ten intensely personal vignettes of life for a young male Dominican immigrant living in the New York/New Jersey area in the 1980s and 90s. That soul-sucking urban poverty in both the DR and the US is the background for every story, along with dysfunctional families--functioning in the ways they know how--girlfriends, aunts, uncles, distant moms, disappointing dads--living their everyday lives and told in the disconnected voice of a young male relating everyday struggles and humiliations as if he were not a part of them. Some loom large---Your dad brings you and your brother to his mistresses house where he, apparently, has another family. His mistress is nice to you, the house is nicer than the one you live in with your mother, and they leave you in the living room to watch TV while they go into the bedroom. On the way home, back to your mother, your dad doesn't talk about this.... Others are much more subtle---hide the government cheese and the picture of yourself with an afro before a new girlfriend comes over...I loved this book and read through it twice. Diaz creates sympathy for often-unsympathetic characters and sucks us into the lives of his characters with subtlety and lightness of touch. Lots to talk and think and write about here. Older teens and adults will eat this up. Highly recommended.
providencia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book after reading an interview with Chuck Palahniuk where he mentions other minimalist writers.Junot Diaz's stories made me feel he was talking directly with me. The "voice" in these stories are almost autobiographical.
lindseyrivers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first experience with Diaz was with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and followed with Drown. An honest and compelling collection of short stories, however, I'm not sure that I could have related to them as well without reading Oscar Wao first. So that is my suggestions... read Oscar Wao, then Drown and you will love them.
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dark, disturbing, and incredibly moving.
momma2keira on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had to start this one a few times, as it failed to grip my attention. There were some storylines I enjoyed more than others, but overall the collection of stories was mediocre. I can't say I loved this book... nor did I dislike it. It was just OK.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An outstanding collection of stark, blunt stories about immigration from the Dominican Republic from the perspective of children and adults. Junot Diaz pulles no punches in this collection. As the reader, I could feel the overwhelming pull downward financially, socially, and emotionally of the family members. All the stories are connected, yet jumbled. Drowning is a good way to describe the experience of the characters and the reader. Particularly poignant are the several child characters with disabilities and/or deformities. They seem to symbolize the hopelessness and lack of decent choices which are experienced by the characters fromt the DR.
eastmad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My love of Oscar Wao is due to both to my recognition of geek culture, as well as his unlikely Caribbean roots. These short stories, like chunks of wholesome bread, so full of life and sustenance, don't wow me like Wao but are essential nonetheless. Like most good collections, they are a compound eye looking onto the same scene. Never from a distance, always from the time.
Bcteagirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This particular set of stories is realistic, and with a writing/speaking style that seems 'authentic' to the situations they are presenting. The situations themselves are largely what I would call 'gritty'. Single parent homes where the fathers have gone to America (ostensibly to make money and send for them) only to disappear, leaving the young boys largely unsupervised. They spend their free time not learning in school, getting with girls, and talking about getting with girls (in much coarser language than that of course). The new immigrants working 18-19 hours a day, only to be treated like sh*t everybody outside their immediate community (While doing the jobs that no one else would do quite frankly). While the voices of the children are sometimes amusing, overall this series of short stories is somewhat dark. Towards the end the stories start overlapping, and we see the same story from the perspective of someone else (e.g. the father gone to America). I did enjoy that.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What struck me most about Drown was the book's coherence and sustained interest levels over its entire length. I admit to not liking collections of short fiction very much--but what Drown did was recapture my attention just as it was about to drift away, using unique and unexpected new techniques in the stories. By "Edison, New Jersey" I was tired, even though it was probably my favorite story out of them all. I was tired of the consistency of the narrator's voice, always describing similarly hopeless scenes from his life. Then, "How to Date a Browngirl..." shocked me back into paying attention with its remarkable shift from first-person past-tense POV to second-person instructional POV. "No Face" continued to demand my attention with its present tense and different narrator. What I learned can also be applied within an individual short story: it is the ability to recapture the audience's attention, to continue to surprise them when they think they've got it all figured out, that I appreciated the most out of this collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago. A Dominican writer who knew exactly what it was like while I was growing up, he kept me laughing.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
comically serious, cunningly inspective, and simply awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such relateable scenes, intriguing and captivating writing skills a must read. !!!!!
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Benny22 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book, all the characters are very interesting and you start to feel like you known them. It's also amazing how the characters from different parts of life connect.