A review by misterjt
Drown, by Junot Díaz


I didn't love Drown as much as I did, and do, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It has nothing to do with Díaz's writing style. All of the things I appreciate and admire about his work are there: his sense of pace and atmosphere; his gift with dialogue and language. He still provides an inside look at world's we may think we know but don't. He exposes the layers and complexity of people living in two worlds, of two minds, in between cultures without that ever taking over the real stories of the human condition. Of the absurdities and oddities of life.

No, my problem was not with any of the writing. My problem was that, as I went with breakneck speed through the stories, we spent less and less time with Rafa and Yunior and their world and more time with Mami and especially Papi—f'n Ramon—who, after the revelations of the early vignettes, I could give two shits about. I didn't want to empathize with this kind of father. I didn't want to know why he did the things that he did or feel compelled to forgive him. For all intents and purposes, Ramon could kiss my ass.

But, Díaz doesn't walk away from these tales. He doesn't give Ramon a pass. He doesn't even suggest we should understand him. We should just know him. He deserves to be known.

Okay. I'll give him that.

It's a lightning fast read and highly recommended.