BookBrowse Reviews This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

This Is How You Lose Her

by Junot Diaz

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2012, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2013, 240 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A collection of short stories on the complexities of the human heart, from Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz is the real deal. His debut collection of short stories, Drown (1996), introduced Yunior - a whip-smart, street-savvy DR (Dominican Republic) original - to American literature, and since then Díaz has never looked back. His debut novel The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), won Díaz the Pulitzer Prize, and now the incredibly talented author is back with another collection of stories, This is How You Lose Her.

As the title implies, the unifying themes underlying these stories are of heartbreak and broken relationships. Yunior is back as the central character and, while older, he doesn't seem to be any wiser. The spirited and virile young man certainly doesn't win any brownie points for himself. He sleeps around, is unfaithful to his girlfriends, and flits around from one messed up relationship to the next. His role models - his friend Elvis, and brother Rafa - are not exactly paragons of virtue either. Elvis, who is already married, has knocked up a girl back home in the DR and secretly supports the child. Rafa, struck by cancer, tries to hold on to life by keeping the string of girlfriends steady.

While all this might be enough to turn off any reasonable reader, it is to Díaz's enormous credit that Yunior and his coterie are so human, so absolutely lovable that you forgive their misdeeds. These are not people you might run into everyday, but Díaz's expert touch makes them pop and come alive. Great literature transcends plot and gives us a peek into the human condition. That is precisely what Díaz achieves to dazzling effect. He uses these broken love stories as the medium through which he addresses weightier themes.

Every character in Díaz's books faces the perils of displacement - be it through immigration, poverty, or even mortality. In "Nilda," one of my favorites, Yunior is trying to come to terms with his brother's cancer. Looking for escape, Yunior knows there are some things in life from which you can't run away. "In this world I had a brother dying of cancer and a long dark patch of life like a mile of black ice waiting for me up ahead," he observes. Yet there is redemption. These characters are not weighed down by circumstance, but instead try their best to overcome the lousy hand fate has dealt them. This is precisely what makes Díaz's characters so appealing - their struggles might not exactly mirror ours, but their dreams to achieve a better station in life do.

Books like This is How You Lose Her renew our faith in literature. Díaz has said that his focus on Dominican culture comes partly from a recognition that his community deserves great art: "It's terrible not to see yourself reflected in the larger culture. You become a ghost." With his mesmerizing voice and incredibly human touch, Díaz has ensured that his cast of characters are forever immortalized in literature. And in doing so he has done all of us a great service.

Additional Info
For a visual tour of the events and places from This Is How You Lose Her, check out my Pinterest board at: www.pinterest.com/booksnfreshair/this-is-how-you-lose-her-by-junot-Diaz.

Reviewed by Poornima Apte

This review was originally published in September 2012, and has been updated for the September 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    My Name Is Leon
    by Kit De Waal
    Kit de Waal's striking debut, My Name is Leon, has inspired this big, long, complicated question: ...
  • Book Jacket: New People
    New People
    by Danzy Senna
    Danzy Senna has spent virtually her entire writing career exploring the complicated intersections of...
  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
News of the World by Paulette Jiles

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Happiness
    by Heather Harpham

    A love story that follows a one-of-a-kind family through twists of fate that require nearly unimaginable choices.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written--a story about sacrifice and motherhood.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I's A D Before D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.