THIS IS WHAT JUNOT DIAZ’S LIFE LOOKS LIKE from the outside: acclaimed, best-selling novelist and collector of top prizes. What began with the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao intensified in 2012 when he published his best-selling This Is How You Lose Her and became a National Book Award finalist and half-a-million-dollar MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow. In other words, an embarrassment of riches and applause. The life of a chosen one.
This is what Junot Diaz’s life looks like from the inside: “The reality is that this last book took 16 years to write,” he says. “The book before that took 11 years to write. And the new book I’m working on, I’m five years into it and there’s no sign of me being able to say, ‘Chapter 1 has been written.’ Hundreds of pages I’ve thrown away.” In other words, a surplus of struggle and self-doubt. The life of a writer.