Junot Diaz recently released the deluxe edition of his book This Is How You Lose Her. The collection of short stories now features new cover art by Jaime Hernandez, as well as a graphic to introduce each story.
As compelling as ever, the stories are melancholic, mean, sexy, scary, vulgar, and at times depressing. Each chapter is one beautiful heartache after another. From his well-known anti-hero Yunior, who’s found trying to pick up the pieces after cheating on his girlfriend, to an immigrant woman struggling to survive in America, the raw writing and realism draws you in, and you feel like you’re right there, navigating the complexities of romance, sex, and loss.
Diaz’s writing style is unique and refreshing. He juxtaposes N-bombs, assholes, and fucks with phrases like “my hands are startling on the blue fabric if my dress” (67, Otravida, Otravez). You would think that swearing and slang would be out of place, but it just flows so flawlessly. For those who refuse to accept this type of vernacular, it should be said that language is powerful. And so, this means being critical of the many ways we judge, police and reduce historically marginal voices in literature.
Also noteworthy is the way in which Diaz plays with race, class, sex and sexuality through storytelling. He makes visible how these power dynamics are intricately interlaced with each other by examining how members of the Latin-American diaspora love, use and lose one another. As a result, he explores a variety of crucial questions about identity, culture and community such as, what it means to be a young Latino/a living in America, or how diasporic families are (re)organized. Focusing on these experiences marks a shift from the usual voices that we often find in popular American narratives -and likewise, the voices that we value and pay more attention to.
Check out this short interview with Junot Diaz to get to know him and his writing process.