Tag Archives: short stories

Laura van den Berg’s “There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Good Nights”

Laura van den Berg's "There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Good Nights"“There will be no more good nights without good nights.”

This titular phrase in Laura van den Berg’s brief and beautiful collection of short stories thoughtfully toes a line between prophecy and command, resolution and insistence. Balancing on that line, the book is laid bare: van den Berg’s pieces are always pushing on an elastic wall between observer and observed – flexible in distance but absolute in scope – and the characters all seem to beg, if not for that disconnect to be removed, then at least to find their place in it. There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Bad Nights has the lovely ability to leave you satisfied by its sadness; at least surrendering to it affords the most honest version of ourselves.

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Junot Diaz’s “This Is How You Lose Her”

Junot Diaz's "This Is How You Lose Her"The art of cheating isn’t hard to master.

In fact, it’s not even hard to make that lie effortless, and make it something that sticks to you like roots. Infidelity, just like a past or a homeland, is who you are and where you’ve come from, more than a momentary mistake or lapse of judgment.  Junot Diaz’s new book, This Is How You Lose Her, a collection of stories about the life of Yunior and all the wronged women therein, points us toward the nastier idea that this inability to love exclusively is a matter of culture. Dominican men, the pages all seem to insist, are branded from day one.  They will lose and lose and lose their women as if by birthright, or maybe they won’t, but only because of what those women don’t know – and is that any worse, if the two really do love one another in some true, deep way? Maybe not.  But Diaz manages to keep the answer at arm’s length with a refrain echoed from beginning to end: the half-life of love is forever.

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