by Shivanee Ramlochan, Paper Based Blogger
Longlisted for the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (full longlist here)
Díaz doesn’t resurrect Yunior in this collection of short stories so much as he returns him to the prominence that quasi-autobiographical protagonist has enjoyed in the Pulitzer Prize winner’s previous works, Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. In these new fictive examinations, Yunior is interminably unfaithful when it comes to romantic relationships, and betrayal shines at the dark heart of these forays and fumblings into what we do with love when it’s found us, and what love does to us whether we like it or not.
Selected as a finalist for the 2012 National Book Awards, This Is How You Lose Her marks a messy, necessary route of self-discovery for Yunior, while revealing the seedy underbelly of the human capacity for treachery. It is a collection of fragmented, jettisoned selves, territories, languages and desires: within this colourful, jangling kaleidoscope of excess and separation, Díaz’s prose emerges as lushly ornamented (without falling into too-muchness) as it has been in his other two works of fiction. This is Díaz as we’ve read him before, and loved (or hated) him before, but unquestionably, if you’re a fan of his writing on the basis of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, then This Is How You Lose Her might well signal your perfect trinity. It serves to cement the writer solidly in the shoes of a literary heavyweight, if indeed there had previously been any doubt.