Beyond the Circle of Hell

When his first short-story collection, Drown, was published in 1996, Junot Díaz was hailed as a writer who spoke to his readers from a world, and in a voice, that had never before appeared on the page. No one else had conveyed, with quite such immediacy, the experience of Dominican-Americans inhabiting two countries and two cultures without feeling entirely at home in either. No one had made us so acutely aware of the fact that, for a large segment of our population, immigration is not a singular event but a way of life involving travel to and from the homeland, journeys with the power to reawaken all the anticipation and terror of the initial departure.

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