This book actually depressed me, but not for the reasons it was intended to. Sure, the main character is supposed to be an anti-hero who cheats on his girlfriends. He's barely likable, and really only for his incorrigible inability to make good choices or learn anything from his mistakes. The level of filthy detail makes me feel like it was autobiographical, which leads me to the deeper issue here: how every male in this story treats women. Misogyny is an understatement, as if the author does not even realize that objectification is just as dangerous as discrimination. The prose style is smooth, with plenty of Spanish words sprinkled throughout. I can see why he is respected in the literary community - although I'm pretty happy to not be in this man's cabeza anymore.
Yes, the author tells heartfelt and penitent tales of love and loss, and honestly depicts his role in each story.
The ending paragraph had me in tears.
A tone of integrity.
Having absolutely no knowledge of Spanish, had I known that a considerable amount of the book is sporadically in Spanish, I might not have purchased it. But I hope this doesn't keep people from listening, because the context in which the Spanish is inserted is written in a way that one can get the gist of what they are saying, and doesn't interfere with the story.
Junot Diaz's writing is extremely fresh, new, and immensely entertaining. Yunior, the recurring narrator throughout most of these stories, is a character unlike any other I've come across. The writing here, especially the Dominican street talk, is vivid.
While I liked the book overall, I gave the story itself only three stars. For me, the stories, detailing Yunior's romantic relationships, and the inevitable breakups, got a little repetitive. I really liked the stories about Yunior's childhood, the coldness of his father, the mother's obliviousness, and the stories of Rafa's (Yunior's brother) sad end. Yunior's chronic infidelities are interesting at first, but I eventually just got tired of hearing about them in almost every story. In one of the last stories, Yunior claims to have cheated on one long-time girlfriend over 50 times. At that point, the reader has read so much about cheating that it elicits only a shrug.
The writing is so good here. I just wish other characters would have had more voice, and that relationship issues other than infidelity would have figured into the stories.
I loved The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao and was looking forward to hearing this collection of related stories. I was so happy with the results. The collection is beautifully written and a bitter sweet description of his character's loves (or rather failures of love) and lives. The real treat was Diaz's performance of his stories. His narration provided the amazing experience of hearing the author words as he meant them.
I'm also a Central New Jersey guy and know almost all of the places where the stories took place. That also made it great.
I cannot recommend this collection of stories more.
This story is so well told that I travelled to the Dominican Republic;s history and felt what living there and then being an immigrant in the streets of New Jersey.... It was compelling, exciting, well written and a page turner... Thank you Junot!!
A culture I knew nothing of became real and alive for me
Economista, educador y consultor empresarial. Cofundador del Partido Dominicanos por el Cambio (DXC).
Definitely, there is very much to love and like in this wonderful audiobook from critically acclaimed author Junot Díaz who features also as the narrator giving the short stories of this book a unique perspective and a (very) personal touch. Add in the short bachata musical introductions (featuring Romeo Santos) to each of the chapters and you got yourself a masterpiece.
The book relies quite heavily in the use of Latino expressions, culture and symbols. Therefore, and audience not familiarized or interested in Latin American culture may not enjoy it as much as those who do. Moreover, some knowledge of the Spanish language, although not mandatory, is highly recommended for anyone interested in this audiobook.
The main argument of the (semi-autobiographical) of each tale is easy to follow and captivating (who hasn’t lost a soul mate once in a lifetime? Who hasn’t wrecked what otherwise seemed to be a promising relationship?). I found each of the stories to be interesting and some of them were very exciting.
Way to go Junot, I will definitely keep an eye out for your next book.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Junot Diaz’s follow up to “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” which is one of my favorite audiobooks and one of my favorite novels. I also wasn’t too keen on Junot Diaz’s narration at first, mostly because Jonathan Davis’s narration of Oscar Wao was so good but I quickly grew to like it. To me, “This Is How You Lose Her” exists somewhere between Oscar Wao and “Drown.” I felt that the short stories were less minimalistic than in “Drown” but they took place in the same universe as some characters featured in both books make appearances – mostly the character Yunior. I guarded myself before listening to this collection because I thought an audiobook of short stories couldn’t live up to the grandeur of Oscar Wao but fortunately I was pleasantly surprised. The stories here are great.
It is such a pleasure to hear an author read their own work. And doubly so when the work is of such quality.
Not all of the interconnected stories in this book are of the high standard f the title story, but Junot Diaz just nails it most of the time. He strips away so much artifice in his writing, and speaks so cleanly and clearly about relationship. His reading of the work is clean and clear and without artifice as well.
My only complaint is with the producer and director - on a couple of occasions the edits are really sloppy - the pitch of the inserted word or phrase is really off. Just not professional quality work.
Anyway - it was great to listen to this audiobook and I highly recommend it.
Brilliantly written moving
The humanity and richness of each of his characters.
He didn't perform. He read his story as if he was telling you about it. One on one.
The narrator, because he looks at life all around him, (not just at his own belly button), with understanding and compassion.You can feel the icy, treacherous shards of ice under the feet. The Promised Land comes at great cost, if it comes at all.
I read to learn, and in his cool, wry way Diaz delivers on every page.
I send this book over and over as a thank you note. Also, it is wonderful because when have to, you can pick it up and put it down. There is no catch up time. You hear his voice and you are right there.
Junot Diaz is a wonderful writer who gives a strong voice to Dominican culture. He writes about a world I've not experienced, but it rings true. The stories are sad and funny, mean and generous, and to hear Diaz read them himself is a special treat.