“I’m not a bad guy.” This first line sets the stage for Junot Diaz`s latest collection of short stories, This Is How You Lose Her. Who is this person and why start on the defensive? The narrator is Yunior (who tells eight of the nine stories in the book), a Dominican-American who serves as Diaz`s literary alter ego. Diaz is a dazzling writer. There is a velocity to his writing. His words fly off the page at you. You hear his voice speaking to you more than you feel like you are reading his words.
On the surface, This is How You Lose Her is a book about an immigrant finding his way in a new country, but the real story is about Yunior’s search for love. Yunior is smart and funny and self-aware; he sees his flaws and struggles with them. This search culminates beautifully in the final story, “A Cheater`s Guide To Love,” where we see him unravel and then try to piece him himself back together. It is a modern masterpiece of the short story form.
Diaz reminds me of another writer, Sherman Alexie. Both are dynamic, funny, and profound, telling us tales from the other side of the American Dream. Riveting stuff.