Reading Recap: Junot Diaz in Los Angeles

Yesterday I asked readers who planned to attend Junot Diaz’s reading in Los Angeles to write in with their thoughts, and received two full reports, one from Alicia Gifford and the other from Ibarionex Perello. Here is Alicia’s take on the event, followed by Ibarionex’s.

I braved downtown Los Angeles (I lose all sense of direction there) for the opportunity to hear Junot Diaz at the Cal Arts Redcat Theater housed in the amazing Disney Concert Hall where there was a nice turnout of what I suppose were mainly Cal Arts students (young, shiny faced, earnest).

Diaz read an abbreviated version of his short story “The Sun, the Moon, the Stars” about a young Dominican man (Yunior) whose sabotage of his relationship with his girlfriend is inevitable; and then, he read from his novel-in-progress (he didn’t give a title) about a 15 year old pregnant girl whose boyfriend is a 40 year old gangsta set in 1961 in the Dominican Republic, immediately before dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated. He read a scene where Belizia, the girl, is severely beaten in a cane field and loses the child she’s carrying. The narration refers to the future when she will have two more children, Oscar and Lola. Oscar! The very same hero of his glorious novella, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”! So Belizia is Oscar’s mother, and the novel is a prequel?

Aimee Bender sat down with Junot afterwards for the post-reading chat. Her first question was about a quote in an Other Voices interview where he says that he has a weird space in his mind where stories take the form of radical geometries instead of words and sentences, to which Junot replied something about the stupid shit you say that comes back to haunt you. He went on to talk about the negative space of writing, how he


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