The Economist Reviews Junot Diaz

From an Economist review of Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead), 8 September 2012:

The men cheat on their women; the women usually vanish, never to be seen again.  Most of the tales are narrated by Yunior, the alter ego who forms the backbone of much of Mr. Diaz’s fiction, circling around one relentless question:  Is he, as one girlfriend asserts, “a typical Dominican man:  a sucio (pervert), an asshole?”

These are stories about the difficulty of love:  how hard it is to recognise or hold onto.  In one, Yunior tries to save a relationship he has torpedoed yet again by cheating, on a beach vacation to his homeland.  In another, he seeks solace from his brother’s death with an older woman, and wonders if she ruins him for girlfriends his own age.  Some are bittersweet accounts of the fragile relationships between other recent immigrants.

On the next page is a review of a very different book:  A Very English Hero:  The Making of Frank Thompson, by Peter Conradi.

Frank Thompson was killed in 1944 aged 23, younger even than Rupert Brooke had been when he died in 1915, and in similarly futile and tragic circumstances.

Peter Conradi first became interested in Thompson while researching his acclaimed biography of Iris Murdoch.  The two had been contemporaries at Oxford the year before the war.  Thompson fell in love with the future novelist and with communism in the same week:  “two flights of irrationality . . .  two simultaneous conversion experiences.”  Their love could never be fulfilled.  But for Murdoch, “Frank grew to combine the roles of heroic martyr, potential husband and lost soulmate.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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