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This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

This Is How You Lose Her (edition 2012)

by Junot Diaz

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1,303776,002 (3.68)104
Title:This Is How You Lose Her
Authors:Junot Diaz
Info:Riverhead Hardcover (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

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English (72)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
What seems like a book of short stories is actually more like glimpses of the life of Diaz' alter ego, Yunior. Each chapter is usually dedicated to a girl in his life that he made love to and cheated on. A character flaw that not only runs in his family but one that he hints is part of being a Dominican male. The stories are not in sequential order but as a whole give you an articulate look, in Diaz' curse filled vernacular, of Yunior's life, moving to Jersey next to a landfill, growing up with a brother who died of cancer, hardly knowing a father who lived in the states for five years before bringing his family. Diaz states that his stories are not autobiographical but deeply personal. This book is also about the writing, which is a joy to read. A quote from the New Yorker magazine's fiction editor, Deborah Treisman, calls his voice "unlike any I've come across, with its combination of the lyrical and the vernacular, of English and Spanish, of speech rhythms and internal reflection. It has a kind of unstoppable energy, an inexorable drive forward -- even when his stories move in difficult or tragic directions, the language jumps off the page in ways that can be simultaneously comic and heartbreaking. "
Only one story is not narrated by Yunior and in that one we come to realize it is the voice of the mistress his dad has in America while Yunior and his mom remain hopeful of being called up to the states. Perhaps her voice will create a new novel idea. One can only hope. I think his Oscar Wao novel is essential reading for all. This collection continues to confirm his gift.
Some great lines listed below for a flavor of the writing:

But that was before she’d gotten that chest, before that slash of black hair had gone from something to pull on the bus to something to stroke in the dark.

In another universe I probably came out OK, ended up with mad novias and jobs and a sea of love in which to swim, but in this world I had a brother who was dying of cancer and a long dark patch of life like a mile of black ice waiting for me up ahead.

You, Yunior have a girlfriend named Alma, who has a long tender horse neck and a big Dominican ass that seems to exist in a fourth dimension beyond jeans. An ass that could drag the moon out of orbit. An ass she never liked until she met you. Ain’t a day that passes that you don’t want to press your face against that ass or bite the delicate sliding tendons of her neck. You love how she shivers when you bite, how she fights you with those arms that are so skinny they belong on an after- school special.

The half life of love is forever. ( )
  novelcommentary | Apr 1, 2015 |
The intermission Latino music is so close to redeeming this audiobook. Junot took a while to warm up his reading voice and it was rough in spots, but my inner narrator voice doesn't sound so pretty saying the Spanish parts. ( )
  tayitude | Mar 8, 2015 |
The intermission Latino music is so close to redeeming this audiobook. Junot took a while to warm up his reading voice and it was rough in spots, but my inner narrator voice doesn't sound so pretty saying the Spanish parts. ( )
  tayitude | Mar 8, 2015 |
3. This is How You Lose Her (Audio) by Junot Díaz, read by the author (2012, 5:08, 224 pages in paperback, listened Jan 5 - 9)

Meh. That's my emotional response in full. I should be more respectful because Díaz does some interesting things here. He is constantly looking at the life of Dominican immigrants in New Jersey, mostly impoverished, with families marked by distant and philandering fathers, their son's struggling with with these tough, uncommunicative male role models.

Mostly he narrates through Yunior, the womanizing, Dominican-English slangy, cursing but entertaining and somewhat sympathetic voice of most of Díaz's published work, including [The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao]. I liked Yunior telling Oscar's story, but this is not a novel. It's a collection of short stories, and after one or two, I kind of wanted to hear something pretty or eloquent again, and Yunior is neither. There are a few stories here not narrated by Yunior, one by a woman, but these aren't that good and Díaz fails to narrate them well in audio (He does a pretty good job with Yunior).

The most highly regarded story here is "Invierno". It captures Yunior's first entrance to the United States, trapped at home with his brother and non-English speaking mother. His father nearly absent. But my favorite was "The Pura Principle". In "The Pura Principle" Yunior tells of the of his brother's losing battle with leukemia. I found the masculine inability of either brother to really communicate, or to expose any emotional weakness but instead to simply curse and shrug each other off, something of a powerful counterpoint to their mortality staring so hard down at them. It's like a wresting of reality with an imaginary fantasy of toughness.

Is "imaginary fantasy" too redundant? Anyway, if you feel compelled to read this, go ahead, it's short. But keep your expectations in check. And if you don't feel compelled to read it, don't. ( )
  dchaikin | Jan 31, 2015 |
Despite the fact that I really disliked The Brief, Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, I decided to give Junot Díaz another try, and I'm very glad that I did. I wasn't really planning on reading this one anytime soon, but oddly enough, this book came up in my YA Publishing class of all places and everyone was saying that it was really good. I therefore marched myself into Powell's and bought this book. This is the first time I have actually done that and read the book immediately. Something inside me just knew that this was exactly the book I wanted to read at that point. It was weird, but rewarding.

I have to say that I admire Díaz's style in this book. Written as a first person account, it doesn't sacrifice voice for perfectly correct grammar and actually does it well. It reads in a way that seems very much like stream-of-consciousness, and it's great to see this form done well. Often times, this style falls apart and just becomes annoying and unreadable, but not this book. It works really well. I especially enjoyed the fact that near the end, when it becomes "The Cheater's Guide to Love", it changes from first person to second, making it difficult to take yourself out of the novel and completely immerses you in the feelings of the main character, Yunior. I thought this was very effective and I admired his daring use of this form.

While this book could have turned into a book of excuses for Yunior's infidelity, like I thought that it might, it actually became a book of reasons and explanations, but no excuses. Yunior doesn't feel that these reasons excuse his actions, they just explain them. He never asks for sympathy and instead uses his writing as way of warning others that the path of infidelity leads to a spiral. It doesn't just affect the one relationship, it affects all of the ones after it.

This book touches on the fact that sometimes, cultural norms, like the attitudes of Dominican men and women about relationships, are hard to break out of, even if you want to. Growing up surrounded by men who commit adultery constantly makes it difficult for Yunior to avoid this in his own life. Yunior never uses this as an excuse, but rather explains this fact so that we, the reader, can better understand why. He doesn't ask for our forgiveness, he asks for our understanding and hopes that maybe we will learn something from him.

I thought this book was rather beautiful in the way that it portrays a man trying to stay connected to his Dominican culture while at the same time attempting to fight aspects of it. Díaz does a great job of showing this melding of cultures through writing certain phrases and words in Spanish throughout the novel which gives the book a more authentic feel. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading more from Junot Díaz in the future. ( )
  kell1732 | Jan 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
The strongest tales are those fueled by the verbal energy and magpie language that made “Brief Wondrous Life” so memorable and that capture Yunior’s efforts to commute between two cultures, Dominican and American, while always remaining an outsider.

“This Is How You Lose Her” doesn’t aspire to be a grand anatomy of love like Gabriel García Márquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera” — which opens out into a luminous meditation on the varieties of love and loss and the persistence of passion — but it gives us a small, revealing window on the subject.
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Okay, we didn't work, and all

memories to tell you the truth aren't good.

But sometimes there were good times.

Love was good. I loved your crooked sleep

beside me and never dreamed afraid.

There should be stars for great wars

like ours.

Sandra Cisneros
For Marilyn Ducksworth and Mih-Ho Cha honor of your friendship, your fierceness, your grace
First words
I'm not a bad guy.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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He Loves her
     He Loves her also
     He loses both

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Presents a collection of stories that explores the heartbreak and radiance of love as it is shaped by passion, betrayal, and the echoes of intimacy.

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