Monday, July 23, 2012

The Cheater's Guide to Love

by Junot Díaz

 Another Junot Díaz story so soon after the last one?  That works for me.  Díaz has never been a particularly prolific writer - there was a gap of eleven years between his first collection of short stories, Drown, and his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, so seeing him up his output in the lead-up to his new collection, This Is How You Lose Her's release, makes me happy.

In 'The Cheater's Guide of Love', Díaz's narrator (when they are all named Yunior, are we to assume that it's always the same guy, or are these different characters?) is suffering from a break-up.  The dissolution of his longest and best relationship really is his own fault - his fiancee discovers proof that he's had about fifty sucias over the six years of their relationship.

The story runs through the first five years after the break-up, as Yunior goes through bout after bout of depression, becomes an obsessive runner, and then a yoga fanatic when an injury puts an end to his running.  His weight fluctuates, as do the quality of the relationships he begins with other women.  The only constant in his life is the loyalty of his friend Elvis.

As is usual with a Díaz story, there is an abundance of Dominican slang and permanently adolescent men.  His stories are always very entertaining, and this one is no different.

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