Something Lost, Something Found
“That was the summer when everything we would become was hovering just over our heads.” – Junot Díaz
This Is How You Lose Her is the latest offering by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Junot Díaz. It is a collection of short stories that weave together the childhood, adolescence and finally adulthood of Yunior (a character also found in his previous books, Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao). The stories are told through the lens of the various women in his life—fiancée, mother, friends, lovers (many, many lovers). He learns something from each of the women, though most often he chooses to ignore their lessons.
The book also explores the complex relationship between Yunior and his older brother, Rafa, who was once the toughest guy in the neighborhood, but becomes a shadow of his former self when he is stricken by cancer. Through trial and error (that’s what life is most of the time, isn’t it?), Yunior figures out what kind of person he wants to be—and maybe more importantly, the kind of person he does not want to be anymore.
The writing itself is a pleasure to read. Just when I was about to put the book down, the words kept pulling me forward: one more page, one more chapter. Using a mixture of hard street talk and erudite literary wordplay, Díaz puts on display the beauty of language in all its forms.
I have to admit, Díaz has drawn me in—even though I’ve just barely closed this one, I’ve already put his other books on hold.