This Is How You Lose Her is another blast of ingenious storytelling from the talented Junot Diaz. In 1997 he walloped the literary landscape and established his name as a meteoric presence with Drown, a collection of gritty stories centering on Dominican American immigrants and culture. Not until a decade later did he finish his next work, the acclaimed novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which recounts in ecstatic prose the tragedies that befall a first generation Dominican American family. With this collection of stories, Diaz continues to explore his trademark themes of hardship, loss, failure, and resilience in the lives of Dominican American characters.
Each of the stories focuses on individuals confronting tough times and the consequences of their choices, especially in regards to love and relationships. The central figure and narrator for several of the pieces is the incomparable Yunior. His voice ranks among the most distinctive and inimitable in modern literature. Through his perspective, Diaz gives us an uncensored glimpse into the lives of a community of men and women battling through the riotous terrain of love from both the emotional and carnal side. Diaz does not hold back with his oftentimes salacious details of love. He navigates the perils of sex and relationships with complete honesty and openness. He is a genius of language, most notably with the peerless voice of Yunior. Diaz’s literary abilities allow him to employ a poetical style that places him in a league of his own. His prose is like wildfire, tearing through everything and leaving you unsettled.
With some of America’s literary giants such as Morrison, McCarthy, and Doctorow now in the twilight of their careers, I feel comfortable with Diaz blazing the trail for the next generation of great writers to follow. We can only hope Diaz continues to produce work in the decades ahead that resonates with the same uproarious energy for life as he does in This Is How You Lose Her. I can hardly wait for his next work.