So this is a lengthy hour-long conversation, but a worthwhile one. Last Spring, New York City’s Strand Bookstore hosted Hilton Als and Junot Díaz to talk about writing, love and masculinity, among other things. Als is a theater critic for the New Yorker whose latest collection of essays called “White Girls” hits shelves today. Díaz’s praise for Als’ latest collection is featured prominently on the new book’s cover.

Als begins the conversation by asking Díaz about his use of the word “pato” in his work, a derogatory Spanish slang word for “gay.” Diaz responds by saying, in part: “When I think about the politicial unconsciousness of masculinity, it’s queerness.”

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