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This Is How You Lose Herby Junot Diaz
Synopses & Reviews
Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz’s first book, Drown, established him as a major new writer with "the dispassionate eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet" (Newsweek). His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was named "#1 Fiction Book of the Year" by Time magazine and spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, establishing itself — with more than a million copies in print — as a modern classic. In addition to the Pulitzer, Díaz has won a host of major awards and prizes, including the National Book Critic's Circle Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the PEN/O. Henry Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Award.
Now Díaz turns his remarkable talent to the haunting, impossible power of love — obsessive love, illicit love, fading love, maternal love. On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover's washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness — and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that "the half-life of love is forever."
"Searing, sometimes hilarious, and always disarming....Readers will remember why everyone wants to write like Diaz, bring him home, or both. Raw and honest, these stories pulsate with raspy ghetto hip-hop and the subtler yet more vital echo of the human heart." Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Diaz's standout fiction remains pinpoint, sinuous, gutsy, and imaginative....Each taut tale of unrequited and betrayed love and family crises is electric with passionate observations and off-the-charts emotional and social intelligence....Fast-paced, unflinching, complexly funny, street-talking tough, perfectly made, and deeply sensitive, Diaz's gripping stories unveil lives shadowed by prejudice and poverty and bereft of reliable love and trust. These are precarious, unappreciated, precious lives in which intimacy is a lost art, masculinity a parody, and kindness, reason, and hope struggle to survive like seedlings in a war zone." Booklist (starred review)
"Diaz's third book is as stunning as its predecessors. These stories are hard and sad, but in Diaz's hands they also crackle." Library Journal (starred)
"One of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible voices." Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times
"Talent this big will always make noise." Newsweek
"Graceful and raw and painful and smart....The pages turn and all of a sudden you're done and you want more." The Boston Globe
"Like Raymond Carver, Diaz transfigures disorder and disorientation with a rigorous sense of form....[He] wrings the heart with finely calibrated restraint." The New York Times Book Review
"Exhibits the potent blend of literary eloquence and street cred that earned him a Pulitzer Prize....Diaz's prose is vulgar, brave, and poetic." O Magazine
Junot Diaz burst into the literary world with Drown, a collection of indelible stories that revealed a major new writer with the "eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet" (Newsweek). His eagerly awaited first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, arrived like a thunderclap, topping best-of-the-year lists and winning a host of major awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. Now Diaz turns his prodigious talent to the haunting, impossible power of love.
The stories in This Is How You Lose Her, by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts. They capture the heat of new passion, the recklessness with which we betray what we most treasure, and the torture we go through — "the begging, the crawling over glass, the crying" — to try to mend what we've broken beyond repair. They recall the echoes that intimacy leaves behind, even where we thought we did not care. They teach us the catechism of affections: that the faithlessness of the fathers is visited upon the children; that what we do unto our exes is inevitably done in turn unto us; and that loving thy neighbor as thyself is a commandment more safely honored on platonic than erotic terms. Most of all, these stories remind us that the habit of passion always triumphs over experience, and that "love, when it hits us for real, has a half-life of forever."
About the Author
Junot Diaz's fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the Best American Short Stories. His highly-anticipated first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was greeted with rapturous reviews, including Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times calling it "a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices." His debut story collection, Drown, published eleven years prior to Oscar Wao, was also met with unprecedented acclaim; it became a national bestseller, won numerous awards, and has since grown into a landmark of contemporary literature. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Diaz lives in New York City and is a professor of creative writing at MIT.
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