Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 08/14/15 10:49 AM

Book review: This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

This is more a brief take than review.


I had been wanting to get my hands on this book for a while now, especially after hearing Junot Diaz at the Jaipur Lit Festival in 2011. And when I finally picked up This Is How You Lose Her, I was not disappointed.

Playing to the theme referred to in the title, the nine stories all feature one anti-hero, Yunior, perhaps the writer’s alter ego. The other two major characters are Yunior’s long-suffering mother and his firecracker of a bad boy brother Rafa, who eventually succumbs to cancer. And here’s the funny thing. all the stories have these mostly gorgeous women who flit in and out of the two brothers` lives but somehow, the reader is left with the impression that they are all interchangeable.

Not one woman’s personality shines through. But perhaps that is exactly what Diaz the inveterate storyteller wanted.

Where he absolutely shines is the effortless way the less- than- enviable lifestyles of the immigrants (the spotlight is on people from the Dominican Republic here) is depicted. The humour runs like a thick vein, the ups and downs are talked about without much emotion, yet the sentiments are unmissable, the emotions spot-on.

This is lyrical writing.

book reviewJunot Diazshort storiesThis Is How You Lose Her

Sheila Kumar • August 14, 2015

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