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This Is How You Lose Her Hardcover – September 11, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781594487361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594487361
  • ASIN: 1594487367
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (620 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

Review



Finalist for the 2012 National Book Award
Winner of the Sunday Times Short Story Award
Time and People Top 10 Book of 2012
Finalist for the 2012 Story Prize
Chosen as a notable or best book of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment WeeklyThe LA Times, Newsday, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, the iTunes bookstore, and many more...
 

Junot Díaz writes in an idiom so electrifying and distinct it’s practically an act of aggression, at once enthralling, even erotic in its assertion of sudden intimacy… [It is] a syncopated swagger-step between opacity and transparency, exclusion and inclusion, defiance and desire… His prose style is so irresistible, so sheerly entertaining, it risks blinding readers to its larger offerings. Yet he weds form so ideally to content that instead of blinding us, it becomes the very lens through which we can see the joy and suffering of the signature Díaz subject: what it means to belong to a diaspora, to live out the possibilities and ambiguities of perpetual insider/outsider status.” –The New York Times Book Review

"Nobody does scrappy, sassy, twice-the-speed of sound dialogue better than Junot Díaz. His exuberant short story collection, called This Is How You Lose Her, charts the lives of Dominican immigrants for whom the promise of America comes down to a minimum-wage paycheck, an occasional walk to a movie in a mall and the momentary escape of a grappling in bed." –Maureen Corrigan, NPR

Exhibits the potent blend of literary eloquence and street cred that earned him a Pulitzer Prize… Díaz’s prose is vulgar, brave, and poetic.” –O Magazine

Searing, irresistible new stories… It’s a harsh world Díaz conjures but one filled also with beauty and humor and buoyed by the stubborn resilience of the human spirit.” –People

Junot Díaz has one of the most distinctive and magnetic voices in contemporary fiction: limber, streetwise, caffeinated and wonderfully eclectic… The strongest tales are those fueled by the verbal energy and magpie language that made Brief Wondrous Life so memorable and that capture Yunior’s efforts to commute between two cultures, Dominican and American, while always remaining an outsider.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times 

These stories… are virtuosic, command performances that mine the deceptive, lovelorn hearts of men with the blend of tenderness, comedy and vulgarity of early Philip Roth. It's Díaz's voice that's such a delight, and it is every bit his own, a melting-pot pastiche of Spanglish and street slang, pop culture and Dominican culture, and just devastating descriptive power, sometimes all in the same sentence.” –USA Today 

“Impressive… comic in its mopiness, charming in its madness and irresistible in its heartfelt yearning.” –The Washington Post

"The dark ferocity of each of these stories and the types of love it portrays is reason enough to celebrate this book. But the collection is also a major contribution to the short story form... It is an engrossing, ambitious book for readers who demand of their fiction both emotional precision and linguistic daring." –NPR

“The centripetal force of Díaz’s sensibility and the slangy bar-stool confidentiality of his voice that he makes this hybridization feel not only natural and irresistible, but inevitable, the voice of the future… [This is How You Lose Her] manages to be achingly sad and joyful at the same time. Its heart is true, even if Yunior’s isn’t.” –Salon

“[A] propulsive new collection… [that] succeeds not only because of the author's gift for exploring the nuances of the male… but because of a writing style that moves with the rhythm and grace of a well-danced merengue.” –Seattle Times 
 

“In Díaz’s magisterial voice, the trials and tribulations of sex-obsessed objectifiers become a revelation.” –The Boston Globe

Scooch over, Nathan Zuckerman. New Jersey has bred a new literary bad boy… A.” –Entertainment Weekly

Ribald, streetwise, and stunningly moving—a testament, like most of his work, to the yearning, clumsy ways young men come of age.” Vogue

“[An] excellent new collection of stories… [Díaz is] an energetic stylist who expertly moves between high-literary storytelling and fizzy pop, between geek culture and immigrant life, between romance and high drama.” –IndieBound

“Taken together, [these stories’] braggadocio softens into something much more vulnerable and devastating. The intimacy and immediacy… is not just seductive but downright conspiratorial… A heartbreaker.” –The Daily Beast

"Díaz manages a seamless blend of high diction and low, of poetry and vulgarity… Look no further for home truths on sex and heartbreak." –The Economist

“This collection of stories, like everything else [Díaz has] written, feels vital in the literal sense of the word. Tough, smart, unflinching, and exposed, This is How You Lose Her is the perfect reminder of why Junot Díaz won the Pulitzer Prize… [He] writes better about the rapid heartbeat of urban life than pretty much anyone else." –The Christian Science Monitor

“Filled with Díaz’s signature searing voice, loveable/despicable characters and so-true-it-hurts goodness.” –Flavorwire

Díaz writes with subtle and sharp brilliance… He dazzles us with his language skills and his story-making talents, bringing us a narrative that is starkly vernacular and sophisticated, stylistically complex and direct… A spectacular read.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"[This is How You Lose Her] has maturity in content, if not in ethical behavior… Díaz’s ability to be both conversational and formal, eloquent and plainspoken, to say brilliant things Trojan-horsed in slang and self-deprecation, has a way of making you put your guard completely down and be effected in surprising and powerful ways." –The Rumpus

“As tales of relationship redemption go, each of the nine relatable short stories in Junot Díaz's consummate collection This Is How You Lose Her triumphs… Through interrogative second-person narration and colloquial language peppered with Spanish, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author authentically captures Junior's cultural and emotional dualities.” –Metro

“Searing, sometimes hilarious, and always disarming… 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.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Díaz’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, Díaz’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)

“Díaz’s third book is as stunning as its predecessors. These stories are hard and sad, but in Díaz’s hands they also crackle.” –Library Journal (starred review)

Magnificent… an exuberant rendering of the driving rhythms and juicy Spanglish vocabulary of immigrant speech… sharply observed and morally challenging.” –Kirkus

“A beautifully stirring look at ruined relationships and lost love—and a more than worthy follow-up to [Díaz’s] 2007 Pulitzer winner, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” –Bookpage

"In This Is How You Lose Her, Díaz writes with subtlety and grace, once again demonstrating his remarkable facility for developing fully-realized and authentic characters with an economical rawness... Díaz skillfully portrays his protagonist so vividly, and with so  much apparent honesty, that Yunior’s voice comes across with an immediacy that never once feels inauthentic." –California Literary Review

"Díaz continues to dazzle with his dynamite, street-bruised wit. The bass line of this collection is a thumpingly raw and sexual foray into lives that claw against poverty and racism. It is a wild rhythm that makes more vivid the collection’s heart-busted steadiness." –Dallas Morning News 

More About the Author

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Customer Reviews

Although this book is technically a collection of short stories, it reads more like a short novel.
Raven DeLajour
The writing is not for everybody, the author mixes Spanish and English and assumes everybody understand the Dominican Spanish slang.
Fernanda Maruri
Junot Diaz's style of writing is unique and wonderful, and his stories of life and love left me feeling so... human.
Jacquelyn Shelton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 196 people found the following review helpful By Feminist Texican Reads on September 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone familiar with either of Junot Díaz's previous books will remember Yunior, the Dominican kid coming of age in Drown who goes on to become the narrator of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Back for his third starring role Díaz's work, Yunior is the link connecting most of the stories in This Is How You Lose Her. People who read Oscar Wao got a chance to see how compulsively self-destructive Yunior was in his relationships with women. In This Is How You Lose Her, Yunior's doomed relationships take center stage, as does the tenuous relationship he has with his older brother, Rafa.

It's always an encouraging sign when someone you admire begins something by quoting someone else you very much admire. In this case, the book's epigraph is from the Sandra Cisneros poem, "One Last Poem for Richard." But even better, This Is How You Lose Her opens with one of my favorite short stories, "The Sun, The Moon, The Stars," which was originally published in The New Yorker in 1999. It was written well before readers got to know Yunior in Oscar Wao, but in the story we can already see the effects of his lying and cheating as he tries in vain to earn back his girlfriend's trust.

I had already read a few of the stories in this collection, but reading them all at once and seeing how they fit together was a wholly different experience. One of the most striking things about it was getting to see the way that Yunior's views and his interactions with women were shaped by (and, at times, in response to) his older brother's womanizing ways. In Drown, we got to see a little bit of what Yunior was exposed to as a child; he bore witness to his father's philandering. With his father largely out of the picture in This Is How You Lose Her, it is now Rafa who sets the example for Yunior.
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127 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Anya Blau, author, THE WONDER BREAD SUMMER on September 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I once saw Junot read at the Enoch Pratt library in Baltimore. He has a dynamic presence and is a fearless reader. He was able to calm and fully captivate a room full of twitchy, cafeteria-smelling high school students and grumpy senior citizens. It was hard to look away from Junot at the podium, but indeed, I had to watch the slightly-Amish-looking woman who was signing the story for the hearing impaired. I couldn't help but wonder how one actually signs such fresh sentences as, "You, Yunior, have a girlfriend named Alma, who has a long tender horse neck and a big Dominican ass that could drag the moon out of orbit. An ass she never liked until she met you. Ain't a day that passes that you don't want to press your face against that ass or bite the delicate sliding tendons of her neck. You love how she shivers when you bite, how she fights you with those arms that are so skinny they belong on an after-school special."

After reading THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER, I wanted to close down my facebook page, shut off Twitter, leave the oily, grimy dishes in the sink, let the wet laundry sit in the washing machine (and ignore the fact that the clothes end up smelling like a dank, rotting basement), and just write like mad with the hope that I could push out one single sentence as great as every sentence in this book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By libramingo on December 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Don't understand all the hype on this book. It was well written and easy to read...however, I was hoping to get insight into Yunior's horrendous treatment of women (and infidelity in general), but it just didn't click for me. I understand the notion that we repeat the mistakes of our parents, but it feels more like a long-winded excuse that even Yunior doesn't quite believe. For Rafa, I can buy that, as he's kind of obtuse. But we're led to believe that Yunior has some self-reflective qualities and a notion of what's right and wrong. He occasionally seemed quite sensitive, particularly when bad things were directed at him (like prejudice, poverty, slights of pretty girls who liked his brother, etc.). But I never quite understood the cheating still (and sort of wondered who'd want to with him?). I feel like there's something missing -- even the book itself feels cowardly. Also, the ending where he's pining away doesn't ring true given his history. The strongest feeling I had was -- I'm SO glad the girl got away. While we hear lots about Yunior's suffering, what isn't brought to light is what his fiancee had to go through. It's very hard to trust after a trauma like that. May she find a man who doesn't betray her. And may all the Yuniors in the world grow the bleep up. I'm just saying.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Junot Díaz's This Is How You Lose Her, a nine-story collection, is the author's follow-up to his 2008 Pulitzer-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Seven of the stories were first published in The New Yorker between February 1998 and July 2012, one in Glimmer Train in 1998, and another in Story in 1999.

Reading these stories in the order in which they are presented here, one after the other, will be a greatly different experience than that had by those who read them over the fourteen-year period during which they first appeared in print. This Is How You Lose Her, in fact, reads more like a novel than it does a short story collection. This is because all of the stories, although they flip back and forth between segments of his life, feature the same central character already familiar to readers of Díaz's two previous books. Yunior, a young Dominican, along with his mother and older brother, came to the United States when he was just a boy, and these stories, in addition to telling how Yunior got here, detail what happened to him once he did.

Be forewarned that these stories, insightful as they often are, are written in a raw, sometimes outrageous, style. Díaz writes in a Hispanic street vernacular that sees him often mixing Spanish words into his sentences. And, even though entire sentences are sometimes presented in Spanish, Díaz leaves it up to non-Spanish speaking readers to figure out what he is saying based on the context of the rest of the paragraph. But that is the least of it.

Yunior is a womanizer, and he comes by it naturally. His father, although not a constant in Yunior's life, set the pattern for that lifestyle early on, leaving Yunior to learn all the moves by watching his older brother in action.
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