Drown is an engulfing collection of interrelated stories, often involving Diaz' narrator Junior. Diaz has a way of writing his characters that makes them known to readers through their words and actions rather than a direct description from the narrator. A skill that is rare and always greatly appreciated.
My main issue with Diaz' writing is the way he portrays women. Almost all of his female characters exist to satisfy his male characters' sexual appetites and little else. And let me be clear - it's not that I'm squeamish or prudish about sex in literature, it's that the women in these stories are rarely granted a serious level of complexity. Diaz is an immensely talented writer and in interviews I've read this doesn't seem to be malicious in intent. But I would love to see the skill he shows in creating Junior applied towards a female character who carries the same depth and weight.
That said, his shortcoming in this area doesn't eclipse the rest of the work. Diaz is an incredibly talented writer giving voice to a community within American culture which is vastly underrepresented in American literature. These stories only get better the more I think about them and I will definitely read more by Diaz in the future.