I recognize Junot Diaz is winning every critical award in American Literature these days, but there is so little to redeem this characters or the story line. I've attempted both of Diaz's latest works, and it's just not for me.
YES!!!!!!! This audiobook experience comes together perfectly. The story is classic Junot Diaz with characters that are alive and kicking with non-negotiable street cred. You get front-row views into the comedy and pain of their situations, and location descriptions that make you feel like you're standing in the middle of the action.
Junot Diaz as a reader is surprisingly fantastic! He reads the stories at the right pace, injecting the spanish slang words with just the right emphases, and altogether convincingly brings to life the Yunior character.
The bachata music before the first story and in between the stories set the right mood for the poignant, heartbreaking stories, allowing them to flow into each other seamlessly.
A vicious description of one of Rafa's ex-girlfriends, Tammy Franco. She's a tertiary character and yet Junot is able to commit her to his readers' memory in a few words. He describes the abusive relationship that she has with Rafa as a "two-year-long public-service announcement", and even details how she gets physically exposed and publicly humiliated when Rafa drags her by the hair in a parking lot in a fit of temper. Yet she never actually stops loving him. Descriptions like these are testament to Junot's ability to create memorable characters, and his unflinching ability to present the EVIL in the characters that we LOVE and desperately want to root for, characters like the cancer-ailing Rafa. There are no monsters and there are no angels, even the "good" people are fundamentally flawed.
In "Invierno", the story of a the child Yunior after first relocating to New Jersey from the Dominican republic-- there's a scene in which his mother tries to practice English with his father, and he shuts her down mercilessly with "You don't have to learn. Besides the average woman can't learn English." This unbearable disrespect and a lack of empathy towards his wife is especially heartbreaking because the people we love and depend on to help us the most are most times the ones who break us the most. They can and sometimes use the power we give them over us to keep us down and disillusion us. It is worse than anything an enemy can do to us.
Junot Diaz is one of the best writers of our time. I look forward to reading (and listening) to whatever he has next.
The story is pretty nice, it is nothing mind-boggling good, but the narration is so good, it's superb (it is by the author). The sincerity, eloquence and feeling in his narration is go good it makes the story a couple of stars better. the fluent switching between languages is amazing as a Dominican myself I don't think it can be read any better by anyone.
I did not finish this book. I could not stand the story, the language, or the attitude of the narrator. It gave me a headache and put me in a bad mood. I wish I had not waisted a credit on it. It was a book club pick. I skipped the meeting because I did not even want to talk about the part I listened to.
I like the way the author read it... real, flavorful, with character, not mincing words, entertaining... it was fun to listen... the stories are just the right size to tell a story and not get boring... but beware, some Spanish (Dominican Spanish) is needed if u listen to it... I feel like I missed out on some flavors by not being familiar with Dominican slang (looking it up later wasn't as good as understading it in the moment)...
This book was hard to listen to. It didn't make me care about any of the characters. The reviews for this book were great do I was really looking forward to it. However, after having listened to 2/3 if it - I would not recommend this book.
I generally do not like short stories. But I so very much loved Oscar Wao that I tried this one and was not disappointed. Diaz brings such a unique voice to the table in Junior--brash, bright, of the streets but literary, vulgar, introspective and charming. This is a book about people in a world very different than mine, who I wanted to meet and get to know. Only one of the stories fell a bit flat, interestingly the one told in a woman's voice.
I had read his previous book where we meet Yunior and I really enjoyed getting to know him better.