'This Is How You Lose Her' by Junot Diaz


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What can I say about Junot Diaz? Diaz is a captor. This Is How You Lose Her is a collection of 9 short stories, in which he tells the tales of family, loss, love, departure. Diaz explores the issues of race and immigration; the effect that the latter has on families - the prime character in his stories, Yunior, having emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States as a child.


Diaz writes in a way I have never encountered before. He unapologetically uses Spanish words in his narration; he doesn't italicize them, doesn't prepare you for them, doesn't make them look "foreign"; he also doesn't use quotation marks when his characters speak - and still he manages to carry me along and I do not get lost in it all.


Diaz often writes in the second person (which, to me, is more intimate than writing in the first person because it puts me, the reader, in the mix). His writing makes me feel as though I am Yunior, and a piece of my heart is missing, left behind in Santa Domingo; as though I am the one left by a lover I was unfaithful to; as though I am the one whose favourite meal is pernil.

Diaz is a captor; he arrests you and leaves footprints in your heart long after the book is finished. Diaz is a gem.


 

N.B.: Some stories in the collection have heavy adult/sexual content, namely: The Sun, the Moon and the Stars; Alma; Miss Lora; The Cheater's Guide to Love.

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