UPDATED 10 02 07 | 12:34PM EST: Last week Variety reported that Miramax and über producer Scott Rudin have optioned Junot's book for a film adaptation that will start production in 2008. Congrats to Junot and his squad!
By Led Black
It may have taken him ten years to follow up his literary debut "Drown", but for all of those who were longing for his new material, the wait was worth every second. Undoubtedly one of the most exquisite voices of contemporary literature, Dominican writer Junot Diaz has nailed a novel that depicts the Dominican experience from all angles, and believe us, he takes no prisoners.
Titled “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”, Diaz tells us a Dominican story that travels from DR to Jersey, and back and forth in time in signature Sci-Fi approach. The book describes the story of Oscar, your average Dominican teenager and his family, their interactions and their history: Tackling on Dominican Society in the island, the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, and the reasons that provoked Oscar's family to ultimately migrate to the U.S. Diaz pays extreme caution in depicting details that encapsulate not only Oscar's life but the actual state of the entire Dominican community with a distinctive flare and wit that amazes you over and over:
"Every summer Santo Domingo slaps the Diaspora engine back into reverse, yanks back as many as its expelled children as it can...Like someone had sounded a general reverse evacuation order: Back home, everybody! Back home!"
With a prevailing notion of current times, Not only does Diaz focus on Oscar's life...but he keeps on throwing references to major social events that could help people from all walks of life relate to the narrative and Oscar's geeky existence. Yes, there's lots of references to Thee Lord of The Rings, and other major books, but he does know how to drop a throw back and slam you with descriptions like this:
"Oscar, who had never been punched a couple of times by a military
trained adult, felt like he had been run over by the entire Steelers
backfield circa 1977."
"...It is believed that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed the fukú on the world, and we've been in the shit ever since."
"It's all true plataneros..." as Diaz would say: The man is back. For all of us who made of "Drown" a staple set in stone in our college years, this is a major event. Diaz does a wonderful job of describing our heritage and our experience as part of the Diaspora not only in telling our story through Oscar's life, but in reminding us who we are, were we come from, and leaving us hope as to where we might be heading as a society.
Junot Diaz will kick off his book signing tour starting Thursday September 6th from 7 'til 9PM at Barnes and Noble Union Square
Here are the rest of his book tour dates:
09 07 07 | 7:30PM | Washington, DC | Borders - Bailey's Crossroads
09 08 07 | 7:30PM | So. Hadley, MA | Odyssey Bookshop at Hampshire College
09 09 07 | 2PM | East Brunswick, NJ | Barnes and Noble, 2PM
09 10 07 | 6PM | Chicago, IL | Chicago Public Library Main Branch
09 11 07 | 7PM | Philadelphia, PA | Free Library of Philadelphia
09 12 07 | 6PM | Cambridge, MA | Harvard Bookstore at the Brattle Theatre
09 13 07 | 8PM | Miami, FL | Books & Books
09 14 07 | 7:00PM | Dayton, OH | Books & Co.
09 15 07 | 2PM | Madison, WI | Barnes and Noble - West Towne Mall
09 16 07 | 6:30PM | Iowa City, IA | Prairie Lights
09 17 07 | 7:30PM | Edina, MN | Barnes and Noble
09 18 07 | 7PM | St. Louis, MO | St. Louis Public Library Schlafly Branch
09 19 07 | 7PM | Los Angeles, CA | Dutton's
09 20 07 | 7:30PM | Boulder, CO | Boulder Bookstore
09 21 07 | 7PM | Dallas, TX | Borders – Preston Road
09 22 07 | 2PM | Tulsa, OK | Barnes and Noble - Southroads
09 23 07 | 3PM | Austin, TX | Book People
09 24 07 | 7:30PM | Seattle, WA | Elliott Bay Book Company
09 25 07 | 7:30PM | Portland, OR | Powell's City of Books - Burnside
09 26 07 | 7PM | Oakland, CA | Diesel Books
09 27 07 | 7PM | Corte Madera, CA | Book Passage
09 28 07 | 7PM | Ann Arbor, MI | Borders - Downtown
09 29 07 | 3PM | Houston, TX | Latino Family Festival
10 02 07 | 6PM | New York, NY | Instituto Cervantes