21 October 2012

This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz

I had extremely high expectations for this one, because I was so completely blown away by Oscar Wao. But I might have considered that I didn't especially care for Drown. It may be that I like Diaz as a novelist more than as a storyteller. The impressive thing about Oscar Wao is the architecture of the plot, which swoops and shifts and evolves in an absolutely incredible way (and delivers a serious punch to the guts, emotionally speaking, in the process). You really can't do that in a short story, even in a series of stories about the same character (plus one random story with a female narrator, which was utterly unconvincing, to an extent that I was vaguely offended).

The best moments of this book were really excellent, but they were also rather sparse. To be honest, I think I find Diaz's prose style a bit grating. I also get tired of the main character, who can't quite get his shit together and make a relationship work. You start to lose sympathy, after awhile. There wasn't much actual insight into love or relationships in this collection - it was more like a bunch of sob stories. After the tenth time the protagonist falls madly in love at first sight, it seems a lot less believable. Nonetheless, some of the stories were compelling (the first one, I think, was the best). But overall, it was a let-down.

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