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Pulitzer-Winner Junot Diaz's Brilliant American Metaphor

04/09/2008 12:05 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Congratulations to Junot Diaz for winning both National Book Critics Circle award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his debut novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

I read Diaz's first book, Drown, a celebrated collection of short stories, and it knocked me over. He's a profoundly talented writer. It took Junot Diaz 11 years to write his first novel, which I can't wait to read.

At the end of an interview last week with Newsweek, Diaz offered an incredibly incisive metaphor (if you're not a George W. Bush fan) when asked about the current immigration debate in America. The whole interview is worth reading, but the text below really strikes a chord:

"...we're in the fifth year of the most expensive war in human history. We're devouring an entire generation of our young people, both directly in the war or with the long-term consequences, and yet the country wants to get obsessed with immigration. Like this is the exact right time to have this conversation? I wonder if we're not trying to distract ourselves. You know, I love that image from Moby Dick, because we're like the ship. We're the Pequod. We're this nation on this ship, and we're on this insane quest being directed by a madman. But what's really interesting is that Captain Ahab wasn't taking his foreign workers and making them walk the plank. He understood the value of diversity through his dream. We're even crazier than Ahab. We're chasing this white whale called terrorism, but our captain is saying, "You know what, I don't think some of us really belong here. They should walk the plank." I never thought there would be a day where the United States would be crazier than its metaphor, the Pequod. But we're there. We're there. Ahab is now a moderate."