Though this was Diaz’s first novel, it’s not his first book and hungry for more of his work I asked nicely of them-that-buy-the-stuff and so now we have copies of Diaz’s 1997 short story collection, Drown in the library collection. So is it any good? Does it have the “Wao-factor”?
Does a Dominican male have swagger?
If you liked Oscar Wao then you’ll enjoy Drown too. It has a lot of the same elements; depictions of poverty and family life in the Dominican Republic, not-as-innocent-as-you-would-hope childhoods, gritty urban characters with dependencies and turbulent love lives and so on. It also features a handy glossary at the back for most of the Spanish terms that liberally pepper the stories.
The only problem is that at 166 pages it’s a mere slip of a thing compared to the robust Oscar Wao and the stories are short enough to be digested rather quickly. This makes it more of a snack than a banquet which means I’ll be hungry again in no time at all.
Christchurch City Libraries’ cataloguing team has many responsibilities, but one of the most unusual is updating author entries in the catalogue with the date of that person’s death. They monitor news sources and websites daily, and pride themselves in getting the changes made as soon as possible after the death becomes public news.
Why bother, you might ask? A date of death helps better identify the writer, performer or subject of the book, album and so on and makes it easier for people to find exactly what they are looking for at the library. There may only be one John Updike in our catalogue for example, but there are several entries for John Martyn.
This necrology – a list of notable people who have died recently – will become a regular feature on our blog. It will make fascinating reading.
January 25 to February 1 2009
Tessa Bonner, 1951-2008 Early music soprano renowned for the purity of her tone who championed neglected female composers.
Mick Imlah, 1956-2009 Oxford don and author of clever but approachable poems which showed a startlingly original ear for rhyme.
Vincente Major, 1918-2009 One of New Zealand’s leading dramatic sopranos. Born in Oamaru, her versatility included numerous operatic roles, musicals and radio shows such as The prickly thistle club and Stars on Sunday. She developed, trained and sang with The Majorettes, a vocal group who won the Mobil Song Quest in 1972. She was awarded an MBE in 1979.