This Is How You Lose Her

Nearly all the nine stories in Junot Díaz’s National Book Award-nominated collection center on Yunior, Díaz’s literary alter ego, a clumsy cheater and desperate-to-please lover who burns through girlfriends the way runners burn through oxygen. From Miss Lora—a teacher at his high school—to the overly romantic Magda to the artistic Alma, Yunior learns This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead, $26.95): by two-timing, by lying, by being too Dominican, by not being Dominican enough. Yunior picks up tips on relationships from his libertine older brother, Rafa, who adopted the values of the brothers’ duplicitous, controlling father. Alas, the women in Yunior’s world ultimately prove to need Yunior far less than he needs them. Díaz, a recently named MacArthur genius, deftly braids socio-economic and identity issues into each story’s tiny universe; his stories mirror our own jumbled, complex, and complicated world.

This Is How You Lose Her By Junot Díaz Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594487361
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - September 11th, 2012

This Is How You Lose Her By Junot Díaz Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594631771
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 3rd, 2013

Gryphon - Charles Baxter

The poet, essayist, and novelist Charles Baxter started his career in 1984 with an award-winning collection of short fiction. Many accomplished books later, Baxter has chosen twenty-three outstanding stories for Gryphon (Vintage, $16). The typical Baxter character falls somewhat short of heroism; like many of the ordinary, complex figures in Chekhov’s work (which one of Baxter’s characters recommends), they’re diligent, middle-class people, the type who might get “carefully drunk” a little too early in the day, or who want to make a difference by, say, helping the homeless, but whose good intentions backfire. Earnest and compassionate in his depictions of an uncle adopting his dead brother’s son, or a young couple testing themselves by driving across a frozen lake, Baxter also has a delightfully whimsical side. In the title story, more reminiscent of Lewis Carroll than of Chekhov, a fourth-grade class goes slightly down the rabbit hole when a substitute teacher shows up with “substitute facts,” declaring that “sometimes” six-times-eleven could be sixty-eight.
Gryphon: New and Selected Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) By Charles Baxter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307739520
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 14th, 2012

Pulse - Julian Barnes

The impeccable craft of Julian Barnes’s richly textured collection of short fiction, Pulse (Vintage, $15), is evident in every detail, including the organization, of these fourteen pieces. The bulk of the first half explores various scenarios of connection and disconnection—a man rummaging around in the apartment of a woman he’s dating, a widower returning alone to the island he and his wife had visited together—interspersed with the lively dialogues of a dinner party; life has both its lighthearted and its grave moments. The book’s second section focuses on various sorts of loss, but Barnes shows how these deprivations can be opportunities for deeper understanding, as when a deaf-mute man develops a special talent for drawing people’s portraits, or a woman so traumatized by her abusive father that she loses all sense of smell becomes a talented musician. Barnes is always a keen and compassionate observer.
Pulse: Stories (Vintage International) By Julian Barnes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307742407
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - February 21st, 2012