“The half-life of love is forever”- that line describes this entire book of threaded stories. Every book I’ve read of Junot Diaz has the love/cheating, working class Dominican/raw theme to it, my first introduction to his voice and style was Wao. I couldn’t stop reading that book just as I couldn’t stop reading this one. His voice is staccato and engaging, moving you from one sentence to the next in a breathless fluidity I haven’t experienced elsewhere.
People have noted that they would like to see other themes explored in his work and while this would exemplify his genius (pun intended, he was just names a MacArthur Fellow) as a writer I get it- there is the languid part of our souls that need exploration, that need tending to to be understood, to be feared less, to be cried out. What better way than to write through it? I’m not going to knock any stars of the book for theme repetition. I understand that people will, however.
Most of the stories were strong and in his characteristic 2nd person POV and he just makes it work. If any other writers writing today tried this it would fail, belly up, in its own waste. I loved most of the stories. I liked a few. I want to reread Otra vida, Otra vez, absorb it, memorize it, know it. That is how a story should be written. That is how a story should move.
I’m giving this book 5 stars because I’m a fan of gritty fiction, I write gritty, I’ve lived gritty and this book is affirmation that there is beauty in sorrow.