(US, 1968– )
Diaz was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, moving with his family when he was 7 to rejoin his father, who was working in New York. He draws heavily on his own experiences in his short stories, Drown (1996). The narrators of the stories live in the barrios of Santo Domingo and the immigrant neighbourhoods of New Jersey, and speak with voices that are pungent and tough, but have a raw lyricism. ‘Ysrael’ is about two boys in Santo Domingo on the track of a contemporary, whose face has been mauled by a pig; ‘No Face’ is told from the point of view of the disfigured child. A teacher tells the narrator of the title story and his friends that most of them are like space-shuttles, due to burn out; the narrator comments: ‘I could already see myself losing altitude, fading, the earth spread out beneath me, hard and bright.’ The resigned eloquence of this is typical of the collection.
Raymond Carver, Richard Ford NC