“Monstro” by Junot Diaz

Monstro” (story 7 of Deal Me In* 2015)

(*At the beginning of the year, I come up with a list of fifty-two short stories to read and assigned each to a playing card. Throughout the year, I draw a card a week to randomize my reading order of the stories. This week I drew the seven of clubs. My list of stories is here. The sign up post for The Deal Me In Challenge (with a more detailed explanation of the challenge) is here. To see what other participants in the challenge are reading, see their blogs linked in my sidebar.)

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Read “Monstro” online at http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/06/04/monstro

This was my first experience reading Junot Diaz, who I’d heard many great things about. It is a really strange story, set on the island of Hispaniola (that’s the Caribbean one that includes Haiti and The Dominican Republic) that I’m finding it hard to summarize, so I’ll let the author do it.🙂

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How did Diaz describe the story (part of a planned sci-fi novel) in an interview?

Wired: So tell us about your story, “Monstro.” What was that about?
Díaz: It’s actually part of a novel I’m working on. I’ve been working on this insane novel about a strange invader virus-type thing that takes root in the poorest, hottest places in the world in the near future, and of course one of those places is going to be Haiti. I write most specifically about the Dominican Republic and that island. So I had this crazy idea to write a near-future story where these virused-up 40-foot monstrosities are going around eating people, and taking it from there. I’m only at the first part of the novel, so I haven’t really gotten down to the eating, and I’ve got to eat a couple cities before I think the thing will really get going.”

(Read this interview at http://www.wired.com/2012/10/geeks-guide-junot-diaz/all/)

It took me a little while to get used to Diaz’s writing style too, as he “used a lot of words I didn’t know.” I think a lot of them weren’t real words either, just neologisms specific to this story. But that’s okay. It kind of helped me stay UNgrounded in an unfamiliar setting. I did like the idea of this strange virus that is at first underestimated or not taken seriously enough because those who are being infected are not the most highly valued members of the world community.

What have you read by Junot Diaz? What would you recommend for further reading for me?

(Image below from Zazzle.com) For next year, Maybe I should buy the whole set of t-shirts and take them out of the drawer at random to pick my stories?)

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Below: author Junot Diaz (he looks just like this one IT guy in my office. Kinda freaks me out a little bit.)

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2 Comments

  1. Dale said,

    February 16, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I really enjoyed his story “Edison, New Jersey”; however, “Monstro” sounds vastly different!

    And “Edison, NJ” is another story with an unnamed narrator. I got the impression it’s a fictional version of Diaz, himself.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      February 17, 2015 at 8:18 am

      I do plan to read more by Diaz, even if this story was a bit strange to my tastes. My clubs suit was partly intended to give me a taste of a lot of authors Id heard great things about but had never read. Diaz is one of those, as was Eugenides.

      Like


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