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Junot Diaz at Diesel Books

Posted by novoscene on September 26, 2007


Junot Diaz is one cool, geeky mother. In a couple of sentences the cat can break down all that’s wrong with contemporary America literature, wax eloquent on the joys and possibilities of a truly multicultural nation, and make conversation with cute corner store clerk as he’s buying you your first Sapporo. At least that’s how I remember him when we met in 1999 at the Hurston/Wright Writers Workshop, where he’s counseled young writers of color and got us drunk on the weekends.

Diaz, the Dominican writer, professor and all around know it all, has broken through all types of boundaries and beliefs since “Drown,” his seminal short story collection blew critics’ wigs back, way back in 1997.

The stories were praised for their original voice and for bringing the Dominican American voice into contemporary fiction. In the years since the book and the man have served as inspiration for many –wait a minute, you can say that-revelations as a generation of young inner city writers read his work and struggled to find their voices in a sea of workshops and MFA inspired lit.

Although it’s been 11 years since the last book, according to reports the new novel is worth the wait. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao has critics from the New York Times to Newsweek all hot and bothered and has drawn comparisons to modern masters like David Foster Wallace, Mario Vargas Llosa and Donald Barthelme.

In his only Bay Area appearance, Diaz reads tonight at Diesel Books in Berkeley. Come see what all the fuss is about. Maybe he’ll buy you a drink afterwards.

Junot Diaz Reading from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Wednesday, Sept. 26
Diesel: A Bookstore
5433 College Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618

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