My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I listened to the KCRW Bookworm podcast with the author, who also reads the audio.... SO inspiring and smart. Díaz is something special, and I was looking forward to listening to this as an audiobook.
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.”
I'd give these stories more of a 4.5, because his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is superb, and it would be hard to surpass it. What I loved about that book is present here, and read in the author's actual voice really brought them to life. Most of them deal with people recently relocated from the Dominican Republic, feeling out of place, and exploring the messier parts of life.
"The newest girl's called Samantha and she's a problem. She's dark and heavy-browed and has a mouth like unswept glass - when you least expect it, she cuts you."
"'Baby, baby, this is part of my novel.'
This is how you lose her."
"'It wasn't supposed to get serious between us. I can't see us getting married or nothing.'
And you nodded your head and said you understood. And then, we fucked, so we could pretend that nothing hurtful had just happened."
"Do you remember? When the fights seemed to go on and on, and always ended with us in bed, tearing at each other like maybe that could change everything."