It may have covered itself in a slightly different cheese. It may have painted the vehicle in a slightly different color. But this thing ran on the same exact juice, it ran along the same exact tracks, and at the same sort of speed — and inflicting the same sort of damage.

I think if you're a guy and you don't face the legacies of this practice and this privilege and this pathology we call masculinity — lonely and difficult and painful will be your life, for you and for others.

So as a guy, like many of the guys I grew up with, you end up confronting it. Part of the core of this book was showing a character who, [by] any stretch of the imagination — at least in the New Jersey I grew up in — we'd call a winner as a boy. This is a dude who's, like, really fucking physical. This is a dude who is really fucking big. Masculine. All the normal codes. And comes from a very tough fucking background. And we know that we think that's masculine. If you come from Greenwich, Connecticut, you're not considered a man compared to someone who comes from Newark, New Jersey.

And so Yunior has all the bells and whistles. Why is he unhappy? Why is he so torn apart? I think the truth of it is, you can't carry that weight without it somehow eating you. So, I would think Yunior is doing what most of us go through which is sort of trying to figure out if he can live with this practice that he is an exemplar of.

YOUR WORK IS BATHED IN SCI-FI. WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN SCI-FI AND THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE? My second book [The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao] is when I kind of realized that this project was going to require a whole lot of support and a whole lot of insight and a whole lot of intelligence from what we would call the fantastic genres. My narrator Yunior reveals himself in my second book, my novel, as a real closet fanboy.

By this book [This Is How You Lose Her], we have a Yunior who has basically outed himself as a certain kind of a nerd and someone who is fluid in nerdish. As a writer, I think that it would be almost impossible for me to explain this sped-up madness which we call the real without deploying narrative struts and narrative devices — and just a whole entire narrative support system — that came from the genres.

I don't know how you describe this fucking world without science fiction and fantasy and horror. It just seems — especially for someone like me who lives in such extremis, which is to say across these multiple worlds simultaneously. I'm looking for anything, any adjunct that will help.

YOU'RE WORKING ON A SCI-FI NOVEL NOW. I don't know. It's nowhere near even started. I mean I started it, but it's kind of ground to a halt. All I know is it's going to have giant monsters eating people. And I like that.

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