I tried to ration myself, but I inhaled 6 of these stories before I knew it. I even read one – “Otravida, Otravez” – twice. Then I couldn’t sleep and read the 7th story and finished the last two of these interconnected stories before I went into the Fitzgerald Theatre to see him (http://fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org/events/). This is another remarkable book from Diaz. The writing sparkles erratically. This is not to suggest that Diaz is out of control, only that his ‘popcorn on steroids’ style suits his characters and stories well.
One narrator, who works in a hospital laundry and is a soft touch for those girls, and I mean girls, who have just arrived in the country, explains (55):
I never see the sick; they visit me through the stains and marks they leave on the sheets, the alphabet of the sick and dying.
I had to stop, re-read and mark the passage. It absolutely took my breath away.
My only regret is that this collection – which Diaz says it took him 16 years to finish – took me two days to finish. And now I have to wait years for the next one.