This Is How You Lose Her
A stunning third novel, Junot Díaz followed Pulitzer-Prize winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, This is How You Lose Her is a collection of stories about the "haunting, impossible power of love." It is a remarkable collection, even though it is "billed as a collection of love stories" but "for all that, four of the nine stories are named for lovers and eight of the nine revolve around relationships gone sour, Díaz is most affecting when he’s writing about...the endless difficulty of loving oneself." (NYT Book Review)
The stories are intertwined: they revolve around the protagonist, Yunior. The majority of the stories are about infidelity. As one review puts it, "Junot Díaz’s short story collection is so sharp, so bawdy, so raw with emotion, and so steeped in the lingo and rhythms of working-class Latino life that it makes most writing that crosses the Atlantic seem hopelessly desiccated by comparison." While I didn't fall in love with the narrator (I don't think he was created for the readers to love), the writing, imagery and everything about the collection was almost alive. My favorite story was Invierno, about right after Yunior, his brother (Rafa), and his mother had just immigrated from the Dominican Republic:
That night I dreamed of home, that we'd never left. I woke up, my throat aching, hot with fever. I washed my face in the sink, then sat down next to our window, my brother asleep, and watched the pebbles of ice falling and freezing into a shell over the cars and the snow and the pavement. Learning to sleep in new places was an ability you were supposed to lose as you grew older, but I never had it.
I highly recommend reading this 9-story collection when you can. Rating: ★★★★★