Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz


Junot Diaz is a genius. This, in fact, is not an overstatement. He is the winner of the 2012 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," formerly recognized as the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Not to mention he is also a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. To say his writing is anything short of phenomenal would be blashpemous.

His newest contribution to the world of literature is the delectable This Is How You Lose Her, a collection of nine short stories exploring the tumultuous world of human relationships and the fickle, fallible human heart. Recently a nominee for the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction, this collection follows Yunior, our fearless and often reckless Dominican narrator.

Each story discusses his relationship with a different woman, at various stages in his life and sometimes women involved with those near and dear to Yunior. As a boy, Yunior watches with jealousy and awe as his brother Rafa mingles with a troubled Nilda. Or later, Yunior himself loses Alma, a beautiful and intelligent catch, when she discovers his infidelity.

Diaz is a master with language and at evoking presence in any scene he spills upon the page. Each encounter with a new woman brims with the excitement of meeting someone new and falling in love or lust or both and all the crazy rushing emotions in between. The poetic sadness of losses, staying true to the title, is heart breaking and reflects the human experience. The only fault with this collection is it's brevity - you can't help but want more.

And if you do want more, try Junot Diaz Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao or his first collection of stories, Drown.

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