Dominican American Pulitzer Prize-Winning author Junot Díaz released his latest book today. “This Is How You Lose Her” follows the story of protagonist Yunior’s downward spiral after his fiancée finds out he’s cheated on her.
“When I finished my first book, Drown, I realized that the theme of infidelity, which runs through the book, needed sort of a much more upfront presentation, and I concocted this project. It just really interested me,” Díaz told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “But you know, sometimes you chart out a course and you think it’s going to be an afternoon walk, and you realize it takes you half your life.”
NPR has an in-depth interview with Díaz that focuses on his process writing “This Is How You Lose Her.” In the excerpt below Díaz tells NPR’s Inskeep about how he was taught to view women:
“I grew up in a world, [a] very New Jersey, American, Dominican, immigrant, African-American, Latino world. And, you know, I went to school and it was basically the same. I went to college; it was basically the same, where largely I wasn’t really encouraged to imagine women as fully human. I was in fact pretty much — by the larger culture, by the local culture, by people around me, by people on TV — encouraged to imagine women as something slightly inferior to men. And so I think that a lot of guys, part of our journey is wrestling with, coming to face, our limited imagina[tion] and growing in a way that allows us not only to imagine women as fully human, but to imagine the things that we do to women — that we often do blithely, without thinking, we just sort of shrug off — as actually deeply troubling and as hurting another human being. And this seems like the simplest thing. A lot of people are like, ‘Really, that’s like a huge leap of knowledge, of the imagination?’ But for a lot of guys, that is.”
Díaz, who is known for his bold, nuanced depiction of immigrants and people of color, will be the keynote speaker the Facing Race conference taking place November 15-17 in Baltimore. Facing Race, the largest national, multi-racial gathering of leaders, educators, journalists, and activists on racial justice is organized by Colorlines.com’s publisher the Applied Research Center.
If you want to learn more about Díaz check out his guest DJ mixtape on NPR that includes the likes of Calle 13, Ana Tijoux, Kinky and openly gay rapper Le1f.