Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fiction Tuesday - This is how You Lose Her

Up for one of the Finalist in the 2012 National Book Award is Junot Daiz's novel.

Ana Iris once asked me if I loved him and I told her about the lights in my old home in the capital, how they flickered and you never knew if they would go out or now. You put down your things and you waited and couldn’t do anything really until the lights decided. This, I told her, is how I feel.
“Otravida, Otravez,” This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

His first book in five years, and only his third, the Times put it quite succinctly, “It is, like the other two, excellent.”-DKNY

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 the New York Times-Bestselling 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.”
She says nothing, just hugs her pillow to her Howard sweater. She is a Southern girl with supremely straight posture and when she sits down you feel as if she’s preparing to interview you.”p.195 (thydh)
Richard Wolinsky: There aren’t that many people of Hispanic origin writing science fiction.
Junot Díaz: No. This is an area that’s growing the hell up. You see a lot more new writers of color, a lot more writers of U.S.-Latino descent, but as a kid science fiction made perfect sense to someone like me who had lived such extreme reality. I had gone from a 1970s Third World – we’re not talking about a 2012 Third World – a 1970s Third World and then suddenly moved to New Jersey. It was as if you had gone in a time machine. It was extraordinary. The U.S. to a kid like me felt like science fiction. For a kid like me who grew up in the shadow of dictatorship, American realistic fiction or realistic stories, and their sitcoms, didn’t have any traces of the world I left behind. In science fiction and fantasy I saw a lot of myself reflected.

Its been such a long time since I’ve read a book for pleasure. I’ve been so busy with school work and college apps; But boy am I glad to have opened this book. Haven’t been able to put it down all afternoon!-Samantha
…short with a big mouth and big hips and dark curly hair you could lose a hand in.
When I went up to get my book signed, I told him how much his talk meant to me and I almost started crying - I think it’s because of how few books/movies/tv shows/ect mirror my experience in them and his stories and the honesty with which he talked about them and himself and this world we live in mean so much to me. And even though his books often don’t really mirror my own experiences - I was brought up in a middle-class Pakistani family whose parents were always around and never really had to worry about money, there are bits that do overlap and even those tiny bits matter so much to me.-BB

 TM: Out of the nine stories in This is How You Lose Her, you make one attempt in “Otravida, Otravez” to write from the point of view of a woman. Why is that in here?
JD: [T]his of course makes no sense to anyone, but for me it’s one of the larger projects in the book. And this is my thesis in This is How You Lose Her: Yunior’s inability to imagine or sympathize or think about women in interesting ways. It’s revealed at the end of This is How You Lose Her that the book that you have read is the book that Yunior has written. And so we know that he has written “Otravida, Otravez.” And it’s an attempt for Yunior to say, “This is the best I can do with female subjectivity. Does it show that I’ve changed in anyway after everything I have done or doesn’t it?” So in my mind it’s all connected.
” from The Millions interview

Featuring Marc-Andre Grondin as 

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2012: This Is How You Lose Her features nine stories by Junot Diaz, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in 2008. At the center of each story is Yunior (making his third appearance in Diaz's work), a Dominican American stud who, despite his macho exterior, aches to be loved. At first blush, this slim volume lacks the ambition and scope of Oscar Wao, a condensed pop-culture epic. But Diaz has done an extraordinary thing here: He has taken Yunior's heart and battered it every which way to show how love--romantic, physical, or familial--can affect even the most masculine character. The final story, "The Cheater's Guide to Love," features the collection's stickiest line: "The half-life of love is forever." Diaz compares heartbreak to radiation, its strength decaying exponentially over time. You can bury it underground and try to forget about it, but it never goes away entirely. --Kevin Nguyen

Novels sell better than short stories. That’s why this happens. What makes Díaz’s latest book extraordinary in this context is how easy it would have been to make this collection a novel. The stories focus on scenes from the life of Yunior, the young Dominican American who appears in just about all of Díaz work.-amergo

 And that’s when I know it’s over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it’s the end.
Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her

Junot Diaz: My stories come from trauma.



Krystal said...

i think i have this book pinned...it looks good!

Cafe Fashionista said...

This definitely sounds like an interesting read! :)

Sara said...

I read Oscar Wao & Drown & met him at Oakland University when I went there. I LOVE his books, and I cannot wait to read this one :)

meg said...

You know how I feel about Marc-Andre..and for him to be in all these wonderful stories..OH MY!

MOSAMUSE said...

nice post! the book sounds interesting!


Chris Ed said...

Sounds like very interesting book, cool review!