This Is How You Lose Her

Junot Diaz

Time In

‘Your girl catches you cheating.’ This is how the pivotal tale in Junot Díaz’s newest collection of stories confronts its reader. Deeds have been done, and the earth-scorching that follows is a by-product of decisions already made and pleasures enjoyed. But what makes a cheater? What’s in such a man’s physical and emotional make-up? Is there a slim possibility for rehabilitation, if not redemption?

Consider the sum of This Is How You Lose Her, a thorough, if fictional, search for the answers. Its stories – often guided by narrator Yunior – plumb formative moments in a young Dominican immigrant’s life, turning the microscope on his upbringing and natural predilections in a hunt for clues. The lighthearted and playful musicality in his Spanglish – a comic-book-reading Dominican girlfriend becomes an ‘alternatina’ – remains even when the characters are coping with pain. Matthew Love

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