Reminiscing about the beginning and ultimate end of relationships is always enlightening. Junot Diaz’s newest collection of short stories about loving and losing is no exception.
In This Is How You Will Lose Her, Yunior, a slick, hard headed Dominican living in New Jersey, traces the downfall of his romantic relationships with candor and wit. As the title implies, all of Yunior’s relationships are doomed for one reason or another. Far from an innocent hero, Yunior comes off as a selfish, sex-crazed jerk. But he’s an honest jerk, and you’ll find yourself rooting for him while simultaneously cursing his romantic recklessness.
With his thoughtful and dynamic prose, Diaz does an amazing job of bringing the reader into Yunior’s world. He describes Santo Domingo so clearly, you can almost see its sizzling streets and noisy traffic.
Diaz has a knack for descriptions, particularly descriptions of the women that dot his life. In “The Sun, the Moon, the Stars,” we meet Madga, Yunior’s first big love: “Let me tell you about Magda. She’s a Bergenline original: short with a big mouth and big hips and dark curly hair you could lose a hand in… You couldn’t think of anybody worse to screw than Magda.” But screw her he does and it sets the stage for the rest of Yunior’s failed relationships and heartaches in the text.
That’s the ultimate conceit of the book – despite being callous and thoughtless, Yunior really knows these women. It makes us feel for him even more when he eventually ruins things with them. It serves as a bleak reminder of the difficulties that come with trying to make relationships work.
Verdict: This Is How You Will Lose Her is an honest, funny and bittersweet read that will no doubt have you pondering your own romantic ups and downs along with Yunior’s.
Date released: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Author: Junot Diaz