Your girl catches you cheating. (Well, actually she’s your fiancée, but hey, in a bit it so won’t matter.) She could have caught you with one sucia, she could have caught you with two, but as you’re a totally batshit cuero who didn’t ever empty his email trash can, she caught you with fifty! Sure, over a six-year period, but still. Fifty fucking girls? Goddamn. Maybe if you’d been engaged to a super open-minded blanquita you could have survived it—but you’re not engaged to a super openminded blanquita. Your girl is a badass salcedeña who doesn’t believe in open anything; in fact the one thing she warned you about, that she swore she would never forgive, was cheating. I’ll put a machete in you, she promised. And of course you swore you wouldn’t do it. You swore you wouldn’t. You swore you wouldn’t. And you did."
This 2012 collection of short stories by Junot Díaz tells tales of failed love. In each, the narrator is young. He's a Dominican immigrant in New Jersey. He's a sad sack and a cad at once. In each case, he knows why he loses her, but somehow he still can't help himself.
The writing is as believable, natural, and sharp as you could want. If the stories have a fault, it's that they are hard to tell apart. The particulars are different in each, but the mood (and end result) is the same. On the other hand, that can be taken as providing the reader with a different perspective on the same everyman narrator of each story. With writing this good, each new version of this story is as interesting as the last, even though you know how it's going to end—he loses her, d'oh. The stories bear re-reading just to try to figure out how Junot Díaz does it. He's a master of the craft.
The Wheel previously reviewed Juno Díaz's "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao".