Junot Diaz Distilled in 13 Minutes

Since The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao finally appeared, and won a National Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer, Junot Diaz has been all over the podosphere (just type "junot diaz podcast" into Google for a big selection).  Diaz junkies should listen around, as he never fails to be insightful, funny, mildly profane, and humbly impressive, expressing himself in a vibrant mix of lit lingo and street slang.  For a self-professed semi-nerd, the man is indelibly cool.

If you're looking for a nice, tight interview, full of wit and some unusual geometric insights on fiction, download the 13-minute Junot Diaz interview on Barnes & Noble's "Meet the Writers" series.  Steve Bertrand does a great job of setting Diaz up to smash the following fastballs:  the writer-of-color "native informant" burden, the unapologetic use of Spanish in his work, the long publishing gap between Drown and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, how his sense of humor changes in English and Spanish, the book that had to be binned after 9/11, his eclectic reading habits, and his fate as a writer of "stories that take forever to write."

Junot Diaz on Barnes & Noble's "Meet the Writers," Recorded 9.28.2007, 13:13 (also available on iTunes--on "Meet the Writers" and filed under "J")
Minute 8: "Oh man, I don't got game like that, that's like 'Baron von Trapp game.'" (Diaz swings the bat around on this witticism super-fast, though he couldn't have seen the setup coming.)
Minute 9:  Geometric shapes in the structure of fiction.
Minute 12:  Reading speed v. writing speed.
Litagogo PodPith Score: 4/5

Diaz Me a Story
To hear Diaz read his short story, "How to Date a Brown Girl (Black Girl, White Girl, or Halfie)" (from Drown),  listen to "The Dating Game" on the New Yorker site or search for on iTunes in the "New Yorker: Fiction" podlist (Recorded 6.1.2007, 17:38 minutes).  The reading is bookended by a bit of discussion between Deborah Treisman and Edwidge Danticat.  Enjoy the story's tour-de-voice, and just ignore the unfortunate moments when an actress reads the minimal ____girl dialogue.  Diaz's reading is great, like Eudora Welty reading "Why I Live At the P.O."  Energy man, energy.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realise just how prolific Junot Diaz was in the 'podosphere', but I reckon when a writer can talk so brilliantly about his work, you've just got to let him get on with it.

    We were lucky enough to get 20 minutes of his time last year for his publication of Oscar Wao with Faber here in the UK. Zero preparation. He was one of the first authors we captured for our new Faber Podcast strand, and definitely a hard act to follow. Enough to make Diaz junkies of all of us - let's hope it's not 10 years until the next fix ...