‘The Cheater’s Guide to Love’ by Junot Diaz

Possibly a controversial choice, considering recent events (and the fact another writer on this list publicly decries Diaz), but I’d feel dishonest for not putting this story on my list. When I read it at the time of publication, it blew me away. A very successful use of the second-person, chronicling the “half-life of love” of Diaz’s recurring protagonist, the story tracks the months and years in the aftermath of a relationship that could have been “the one” had the “you” of the story not been such an inveterate philanderer and all-round shit. It’s quite depressing to be honest, but with a strange energy to it. I doubt you’re supposed to sympathise with the character, and the use of the second-person made reading the story very uncomfortable. I assume that is the point.

First published in The New Yorker, July 2012; collected in This Is How You Lose Her, Faber & Faber 2012

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