“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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Deal Me In – Week 36 Wrap Up

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New Deal Me In Posts This Week:

Randall shares a funny(!) tale from Edgar Allan Poe, “The Angel of the Odd” http://timeenuf.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-angel-of-odd-by-edgar-allan-poe.html

James reads Haruki Murakami’s “The Year of Spaghetti” and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Arrangers of Marriage”http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/09/02/haruki-murakami-vs-chimamanda-ngozi-adichie/

Dale tries on Junot Diaz for the first time, with that author’s story, “Edison, New Jerseyhttp://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/junot-diaz-edison-new-jersey/

Katherine read Raymond Feitz’s “Geroldo’s Incredible Trick” http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/deal-me-in-week-36-geroldos-incredible-trick/

I read Nikolai Gogol’s signature story, “The Cloak
https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/the-cloak-by-nikolai-gogol/

Other Short Story-related links:

Are short stories “annoying buzzing insects set upon this world” to distract writers from longer works? Interesting article. http://www.locusmag.com/Roundtable/2014/09/anton-strout-guest-post-the-eternal-epic-struggle-of-novels-vs-short-stories/

Nice interview with Margaret Atwood (I love her) and her new short story collection. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/qa-margaret-atwood-on-her-new-collection-stone-mattress-maddaddam-and-how-to-kill-a-man-in-the-arctic/article20375640/?page=all

I particularly liked the following quote from her:

“I talk about money and artistic excellence and there’s only four forms: There’s a good book that makes money, there’s a bad book that makes money, there’s a good book that doesn’t make money, and there’s a bad book that doesn’t make money. So of those four, the first three I can live with.” 🙂

Margaret Atwood

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Another review of the upcoming Atwood release is at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-stone-mattress-by-margaret-atwood-book-review-these-short-stories-are-razor-sharp-9700477.html

I’m a big fan of this series and it has contributed many stories to my Deal Me In short story decks. The 2014 edition comes out next month. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/review-best-american-short-stories-2014-exhibits-writing-storytelling-best-blog-entry-1.1923816