Selected Shorts: Junot Díaz

This week’s edition of Selected Shorts is dedicated to one author and one story: “Wildwood” by Junot Díaz. This story originally appeared in The New Yorker, and later became a part of Díaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which tells of a fukú (curse) that follows Oscar and his family from the Dominican Republic to New Jersey and back again. I could go on and on about this book, which I read in practically one sitting–the heartache tempered with humor, the dexterous use of footnotes and literary touchstones, from Tolkien to Marquez, to the single best use of an m-dash I have ever seen (p.322) that, after my eyes fell upon it, made me well up and start crying (I still think about that m-dash). Or I could talk about Díaz’s previous book, a razor-sharp collection of stories called Drown, which includes “Fiesta, 1980” (a story on just about every undergraduate English major’s reading list) and “Ysrael” (which I first read when it appeared in  Story magazine in 1995–it was my introduction to Díaz’s work, and it both intimidated the hell out of me [in a good way] and knocked my socks off–sealing my fate as an extreme fan of his work–not quite stalker-y, but close). In any case folks, my point here is: if you are a fan like me, or if you are one of the few readers out there who haven’t experienced Junot Díaz yet, tune in to this week’s show. The amazing actress Sonia Manzano (Maria from Sesame Street!) brings “Wildwood” to life, and you will thank me when it’s over. Go here to find your time/station, go here for podcasts.