I’m sweating. I walk down to the utility road and come back. Come on, I say. An old fuck in a green sweat suit comes out of the Hacienda, his hair combed up into a salt-and-pepper torch. An abuelo type, the sort who yells at you for spitting on his sidewalk. He has this smile on his face—big wide, shit-eating. I know all about the nonsense that goes on in these houses, the ass that gets sold, the beasting.
From “Aurora” collected in Junot Diaz’s first book, Drown.
I finished this a couple of weeks ago and it was odd reading things in reverse order. The Kirby connection to Diaz’s work is well-established but many of these stories have a kind of Newsboy legion tone to them. I’m probably reading too much into them. This is from “Ysrael”:
“Everyone had a different opinion on the damage. Tio said it wasn’t bad but the father was very sensitive about anyone taunting his oldest son, which explained the mask. Tia said that if we were to look on his face we would be sad for the rest of our lives.”
There’s something that can be said about reading his work backwards. I read Oscar Wao first and then This is How You Lose Her with his first book last, and there is definitely a change in maturity. There’s a carefree attitude of a young man here who doesn’t really feel any connection to anyone other than himself. You can’t say that about Yunior in Oscar, followed by his reflections on his family in Diaz’s third book. Perhaps we’re entering into Diaz’s second turn at Marvel after escaping to DC for a while, like Kirby.(via davepress)