By Samantha Samel
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Junot Díaz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” and, most recently, the acclaimed collection “This is How You Lose Her,” is modest about his success as a writer. “Most of the time, I thought [writing] was going to be a night job,” he said this past spring when he spoke at BAM’s Eat, Drink & Be Literary series.
Díaz will be returning to Brooklyn this Saturday, Oct. 26, to read from his latest book at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch. “This is How You Lose Her,” which was recently published in paperback, chronicles scenes from the life of Yunior, the ever-complex character who Díaz so expertly developed in his first collection, “Drown,” as well as in “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” Like his first two, Díaz’s latest book traces Yunior’s romantic and familial escapades – and often mishaps – as he comes of age and navigates the rocky transition into adulthood.
Díaz brings Yunior to life with such raw, unflinching prose that readers cannot help but feel for him, even in spite of his overtly crude viewpoint and often misguided choices. Díaz has a way of getting inside Yunior’s head to create a remarkably real and multifaceted protagonist; in fact, the author has spoken openly about his own connections to Yunior. “Yunior is an x-ray of who I was before I stopped pretending that I was hard,” he said earlier this year at BAM. “Yunior is a specimen of someone who comes from a very familiar American tradition.”
Despite his enormous success, Díaz is in no rush to please his audience. He spent 11 years writing “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” while “This is How You Lose Her” took him 16. Díaz has explained his relatively slow process as the result of his resolve to ignore his “desire for approval,” pointing out that such aspirations might taint one’s writing.
Back in April, when Díaz revealed that he is now working on a science fiction novel, a genre new to him, he noted that there is a steep learning curve. Though it may take him over two decades, fans can expect that Díaz’s next book won’t disappoint – his utter devotion to his craft will no doubt shine through.
The Oct. 26 event will begin at 4 p.m. at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Dweck Center (Central Branch, 10 Grand Army Plaza).