Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best American Short Stories. His debut story collection, Drown was a national bestseller and won numerous awards. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times called Díaz's novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao “a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices.” Díaz's latest book is This Is How You Lose Her.

From his Q & A with Ross Scarano in Complex:

Let’s talk about the work. When did you write your first Yunior story?

Yunior first appears in 1991. And it was a miserable story, but it was the story with which I applied to my MFA program. It was the first attempt to make a pass at this character. I didn’t have much of him down, but there was a sense of possibility. So you chip away from the stone, and you’re looking at the stone, and say, “Maybe if I work on this for a couple years, it will come out.” There was this sense that I was leaning toward this very particular kind of complexity that had not yet shown itself. I felt that I had to push his honesty more; I had to push how smart he is, and how he hides it; I had to push his inability to have real intimacy. All of these things were in my head, and they eventually started to come together over the next four years.

Are you still chiseling away at him?

I think I have him locked down in an okay way. My idea, ever since Drown, was to write six or seven books about him that would form one big novel. You connect This is How You Lose Her to Drown to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and you can read this thing.

This Is How You Lose Her feels like a novel.

Thank you. I planned for it to.

It has an arc. And by the time that I got to the last story, "The Cheater's Guide to Love," which I had read as a one-off in The New Yorker, it had so much more gravitas, coming at the end of the collection instead of in a magazine.

It’s supposed to be a jolt of information. When you read them together, that’s...[read on]
The Page 99 Test: Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

--Marshal Zeringue