Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: "This is How You Lose Her" by Junot Diaz

While my good friend Keli may hate me for saying this, but in his amazing career, Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose her, is probably his worst work. But Diaz’s worst is still pretty good, including what I think to be his defining story in this collection. But something about this book feels very rushed and put together without using great care. For someone as non-prolific as Diaz, publishing books sporadically, I expect a book of his to be put together with thought and for it to be an event. But in fairness, I do not think it was his fault, when I heard about this book, I assumed it was to fulfill a publishing contract, and with only two stories out of ten being new to this collection, I think I am right. Just because I am a huge fan of his, does not mean I will fawn over an unworthy book. Diaz, ever the chronicler of hopeless romantics and flawed lovelorn heroes, again brings flair to the ever oversaturated genre of immigrant fiction, just not as fun or rewarding. The stories here seem to drift by instead of fly by. They still have some of the best bilingual turns of phrases you will see, but something was missing in most of these stories, and only a few stood out, like “Nilda”, which a shorter version of Oscar Wao, with a more hopeful protagonist, but what really makes this book a reluctant buy is the final story, “The Cheater’s guide to Love”, which brings back Yunior, the narrator of Oscar Wao to let us know how shitty his love life is, and how it will always get shittier, but he will always be hopeful. I feel it is his best story, and makes this flawed book worth it.
Rating: 4/5

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