Junot Diaz, author of the story collection "Drown" and the Pulitzer winning novel "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao."
I spoke to Diaz here about his love of science-fiction -- like me, a passion he chased for several years as a kid but gave up when adolescence hit hard. Writing "Oscar Wao" -- about a "ghetto nerd" who aimed to become "the Dominican Tolkien" -- brought Diaz back to sf in his mid-30s. (Why I returned at about the same time I can't quiet explain, but I think fewer people are asking.)
In any case, the novel is kickass and manages to wrap humor, a coming-of-age story, and critique of immigrant culture into an international history lesson like nothing I've seen.
I also wrote about Diaz in a Sunday essay about cultural hierarchy -- the division between what's long been considered high and lowbrow art, literature, music, etc., and why those categories seem to be breaking down. (It's a long piece, but one of the best read things I've written, for what that's worth.)
Wishing the novelist Junot Diaz -- who also had the good sense to teach in '09 at my alma mater -- a good 41st.
And to readers of The Misread City, thank YOU for your interest and attention, and a Happy New Year to All.
When 2 Become 1
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