This is How You Lose Her is the title of Junot Diaz’s new short story collection, though it feels most accurate to call it an exposition: this is how you lose her. And this is how you lose her. And her.
You get the picture.
As a whole, the book serves as a highly specific, painfully obvious example of how to wind up entering middle age not only single but feeling very alone, the last few decades of your life littered with romances that failed because of you. Because you couldn’t stop cheating.
Sometimes, after finishing a particularly impactful book, I experience a partial paralysis. It’s a sort of ecstatic exhaustion, I think; I’ve felt similarly after long, intense runs. If there is a window nearby, I’ll stare out it without really noticing anything in particular. If my chair is capable of rocking, I’ll do so steadily and rhythmically to the point where people sitting nearby will clear their throats in my general direction. I will occasionally mutter an expletive over and over under my breath. I don’t deny that all this is sort of dramatic. In my own defense, it doesn’t happen that often, and it requires a fairly momentous reading experience. Again, this happens usually after finishing a book. It seems significant, then, that I felt emotionally KO-ed after nearly every story in Jim Shepard’s new collection of short fiction, You Think That’s Bad. The equivalent would perhaps be getting picked up by the same girl eleven times in a row despite having your heart broken every single time. And being ready to be picked up again, if she ever comes back.