Breaking easily and often out of first-person narration to address his readers directly, Díaz flatters us with his confidences. Yet his prose also throws up walls, equally abruptly and equally seductively. Refusing to condescend or even pause for edification, the narrative moves along at speed, exciting us with its demands ... His new collection, This Is How You Lose Her, can stand on its own, but fans will be glad to hear that it brings back Yunior, who narrated several of the stories in Díaz’s first collection, Drown, as well as parts of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao ... His prose style is so irresistible, so sheerly entertaining, it risks blinding readers to its larger offerings ... The book is billed as a collection of love stories, but for all the sexy bits and all the heartache, for all that four of the nine stories are named for lovers and eight of the nine revolve around relationships gone sour, Díaz is most affecting when he’s writing about the inescapable undertow of family history and cultural mores, about the endless difficulty of loving oneself.
...Yunior, returns to narrate the nine linked stories of Diaz’s impressive new story collection, This Is How You Lose Her ...the pattern for most of the stories that feature Yunior, a pining, self-lacerating, weed-smoking schmo who confuses lust with love and generally wrecks his relationships with jealousy, infidelity, machismo or the sheer inability to act ... Written in a singular idiom of Spanglish, hip-hop poetry and professorial erudition, it is comic in its mopiness, charming in its madness and irresistible in its heartfelt yearning.
Reading the stories in Díaz's new collection, This Is How You Lose Her, is often a three-dimensional, laugh-out-loud experience. It's the voice that transports you: erudite, Caribbean, bilingually foul-mouthed, channeling the assorted insanities of Dominicans, New Jerseyites and English professors ... It's not just Díaz's eye for the idiosyncrasies of his characters that make these stories so funny and moving: It's also his fierce wordplay and inventiveness. He's a writer who's at once disciplined and free-spirited, as comfortable in his Latin skin as he is in his English prose ... In the end, it's the voice of male-driven sex and love obsessions that makes Díaz's stories most memorable. He writes best about players. But they're guilt-ridden players, men of many foibles...there is great literature.
Oscar, I'm happy to say, is nowhere in this terrific collection, which instead focuses almost exclusively on Yunior, Oscar's wired friend who narrated The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The nine fully charged-up and chronologically mixed-up stories here mostly explore Yunior's staggeringly scummy treatment of his girlfriends — his "hood hotties" — but they also riff on other kinds of love: maternal and brotherly; the yearning immigrants feel for their home country; the distinct emotional purgatories of the cheater and the cheated upon ...because as any Junot Diaz reader knows, his characters can't rattle on for long without resorting to some expletive. Happily, Yunior's voice is as versatile as his other main instrument...
...this second collection refines Yunior's voice further, into an utterly convincing idiolect that takes in delicate literary detail and tough bilingual argot ... Yunior is centre stage in This Is How You Lose Her: although his brother, Rafa, has cancer, his primary concern is his own life and heartbreaks. Díaz's great achievement is to remain true to the helpless solipsism that possesses all of us most of the time, while allowing the reader to see those other stories on the periphery of Yunior's purview ...the title announces the theme, which is, overwhelmingly, infidelity. Díaz writes a cracking love rat and the only weak moments are the self-consciously right-thinking ones ...if you liked his two previous books, you'll love this one, because Díaz is boldly, brilliantly, doing the same thing again, only better.
In his third book, This Is How You Lose Her, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Diaz endeavors to define the costs and limits of the lifestyle implicit in this Dominican slang for a player. Five of its nine stories concern smart, devoted women who fall in love with sucios who cheat on them with startling vim and alacrity ... The women, meanwhile, are furious and humiliated. They are caliginous figures, flitting though the stories as Yunior’s limited attention span allows, reduced to an ethnicity, an attractive posterior, a vindictive act ... This Is How You Lose Her adds a new texture to the Diaz microverse: bitterness ...he appears torn between remaining true to the experiences and voices of his characters while straining to communicate just how clever and bold he can be to readers of literary fiction ... Now Diaz has finally mastered ambivalence, and he is a better — the best — writer for it.
John Updike had Harry Angstrom, John Fante had Arturo Bandini, and Díaz has Yunior. Díaz’s first two books emerged with an almost effortless mastery; every word in This Is How You Lose Her feels like it was earned with blood, sweat, and tears — and yet it still admirably measures up to Díaz’s previous work ... In this collection, he grows from merely wanting to “fix the relationship” after countless infidelities to understanding real compassion and feeling the full weight of his transgressions against women ... This Is How You Lose Her is far more personal, plumbing the depths of Yunior’s character as he grows into an adult seemingly incapable of having a healthy relationship ... With such a heavy weight of autobiographical content, and that thin veil of comic book allegory, Yunior becomes not only a figure of observation, but representative of the way Díaz views himself.
This Is How You Lose Her traces Yunior’s very rocky path to the understanding that women are people whose dignity and feelings matter as much as his own — as opposed to interchangeable cogs in the supply line of sex ... Yunior is a reluctant adult, prone to selfishness and preoccupation with his own sufferings, like many people in their 20s trying to sort out how to live ... The familiar tropes of immigrant literature dictate that this sort of thing leads to a “divided self,” a man who bounces painfully back and forth between his roots and his chosen way of life ...the centripetal force of Díaz’s sensibility and the slangy bar-stool confidentiality of his voice that he makes this hybridization feel not only natural and irresistible, but inevitable, the voice of the future ... The linked-story structure of This is How You Lose Her does keep it from offering complete satisfaction. Why, you can’t help wondering, does it stop just shy of being a novel, given that so much of its effect is cumulative? Most of the stories depict the same character, with minor variations, making his way to maturity.
This Is How You Lose Her, Junot Díaz’s new collection of nine stories, explores the complicated ways in which love, lust and loss color relationships ...explores the emotional and physical disloyalties between boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife, husband and lover, mother and son, brother and brother ... Díaz excellently conveys Yunior’s voice in bold, colorful language. Soothing and poetic despite its rough edges, this voice allows Yunior’s image to spring fully formed from the page ...we watch these characters as they naïvely hope that their disintegrating relationships could work, despite damning evidence to the contrary, if only their loved ones would hold on a bit longer ...leaves us with a wistfulness that our journey with the characters has concluded, regardless of how we feel about their indiscretions and foibles.
Often caught between hopeless romanticism and flippant machismo, Díaz’s characters are as vulnerable and maddening as they are endearing and sexy. Among other familiar voices in this collection, Yunior reappears, older but not necessarily wiser...as the title reveals, the beautiful, defiant, and impossible ladies that claw away at Yunior’s soul drive this book ...Díaz’s searing, sometimes hilarious, and always disarming language holds everything together with just enough of a sense that it all could fall to pieces in the process—if it hasn’t already ... Raw and honest, these stories pulsate with raspy ghetto hip-hop and the subtler yet more vital echo of the human heart.
Eight of the collection’s nine stories center on Yunior, who shares some of his creator’s back story ... The narrative moves backward and forward in time, resisting the temptation to turn interconnected tales into a novel by default, but it has a depressingly unified theme: Over and over, a fiery woman walks when she learns Yunior can’t be true, and he pines fruitlessly over his loss ... These grim particulars are leavened by Díaz’s magnificent prose, an exuberant rendering of the driving rhythms and juicy Spanglish vocabulary of immigrant speech ... Not as ambitious as Díaz’s Pulitzer Prize winner, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), but sharply observed and morally challenging.