Private: Oh, for a Diaz novel

The good people at the FIPNTRA, especially the Ludic Kid, were wondering the other day when Junot Diaz will be coming out with something new. I’ve been wondering, too.

I read a few years ago that he was working on a novel. In this interview he talks about the novel and his writing process generally:

I’m sentence by sentence slow. And you would think that I would create more elaborate sentences. For all my plod, I still produce rather workmanlike, short sentences. So in some ways it’s rather sad, but yep, it’s both. It’s easy to talk about this shit because people will tell you nonsense, but I think the slowness of my production speaks for itself. I work extremely slowly, and I will re-write a story fifty times.

Diaz’s “Fiesta 1980,” from Drown, is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read.

I picked up Drown after I heard Diaz on Fresh Air five or six years ago. I lived in Tallahassee, Florida then. I’d turned on NPR on the drive home from a student film set. Diaz read “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie,” a second-person story that in its instructional approach (“you do this”; “you do that”) reminded me of Lorrie Moore’s Self-Help. The story was hilarious and sad, and I drove to the bookstore and waited in the parking lot until he finished. Then I went inside and bought the book. I read it that night. The next day I read it again. I’ve probably read it ten times since.