cover image This is How You Lose Her

This is How You Lose Her

Junot Díaz. Riverhead, $26.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59448-736-1

Decisively back in the form that permanently etched his name onto a list of unforgettable writers, Díaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) brings life to the short story with a voice that demands attention. Often caught between hopeless romanticism and flippant machismo, Díaz’s characters are as vulnerable and maddening as they are endearing and sexy. Among other familiar voices in this collection, Yunior reappears, older but not necessarily wiser, particularly as his once invincible brother Rafa struggles with cancer and everything else it means to be sick, poor, and uninsured. But as the title reveals, the beautiful, defiant, and impossible ladies that claw away at Yunior’s soul drive this book. As before, Díaz’s searing, sometimes hilarious, and always disarming language holds everything together with just enough of a sense that it all could fall to pieces in the process—if it hasn’t already. Drown inspired an entire generation of imitators and with this collection, readers will remember why everyone wants to write like Díaz, 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. Agent: Nicole Aragi. (Sept.)