I really enjoyed Diaz’ The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) which I read a few years ago. Very funny take on the contemporary immigrant experience of Dominicans. This Is How You Lose Her is a collection of 9 short stories woven together by the 1st person narrator and the theme of loss and male infidelity.
I chose to listen because I wanted to hear Diaz pronounce the Spanish words and phrases. There are also some musical interludes which kind of contribute in this case because the chapters are really stories in themselves.
The first story is about a woman named Magda with whom the narrator has had a long-time affair. Yunior’s brother and other male companions show up from time to time – same attitudes and Yunior wishes he were different but … genes are genes.
The title of the collection comes from the very short next piece – Alma – It’s basically just about a woman finding out that the narrator has been having a little side love.
The stories continue in a similar fashion although each is different in its own way and toward the end the narrator changes his ways – in a way – as much as a Dominican male can – considering they are raised to see women as sexual prey.
Yunior uses pretty flamboyant language – heavily sprinkled with profanity and sexual slurs. It seems realistic to me –
Yunior is the narrator who told the story of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – this is Yunior’s own story and doesn’t include all the Dominican history. Published in 2012, it was a finalist for the National Book Award while the prior novel garnered many, many awards.
“This is what I know – that people’s hopes go on forever.”