Junot Díaz (DO/US)

International Authors’ Stage in The Black Diamond

Monday 30 October 2017 at 20:00 Rotunden 01 - Udstillingen
Press Photo of Junot Díaz
Press Photo of Junot Díaz

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As a young man, the author Junot Díaz moved from The Dominican Republic to USA, and this can be traced in his books, with their tales of individuals who drifts towards unknown destinies in a universe of colonialism, upheaval and a lack of anchorage.

Junot Díaz was born in San Domingo – the capital of The Dominican Republic. As a young man he emigrated to USA to be reunited with his father, who worked there, and he settled in New Jersey.

Junot Díaz really became world-famous with the publication of the novel The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which also won him the Pulitzer Prize.

The immigration perspective runs like a thread through his works, which tell the history of people who are caught between various cultures, histories, languages and religions/superstitions.

This was already obvious in his positively reviewed debut Drown from 1995. A collection of semi-autobiographical short stories that portray the trials and tribulations of various Dominican immigrants in their struggle for a better existence in USA and their problems in gaining a foothold on the bottom rung of society, caught between two cultures and between past and present. The same currents run through The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, where young Oscar, after having migrated to USA, lives a life which is highly reminiscent of Díaz’s own difficult start in New Jersey. But in the portrayal of Oscar’s family in The Dominican Republic the picture is widened, and lines are drawn back into the past. The troubles of the family are linked together in Fukú Americanus: the curse that the Europeans took with them to the New World and that during the yoke of colonialism fell on the sugar plantations, the population of The Dominican Republic during the reign of terror of Rafael Trujillo, and finally the immigrant Oscar Wao in USA, putting an end to his remarkable life.

Junot Díaz is also co-founder of various organisations that focus on immigrants and the plight of non-whites. This has naturally led to his becoming a spokesman for immigrants in USA; defending those who live in an environment of crushed American dreams and the feeling of alienation – and environment that once more formed the backdrop for Díaz’s latest collection of short stories: This is How You Lose Her.

This event takes place in English.