Junot Díaz’s fiction covers everything from Dominican history to comic books to cancer. More than anything, though, he writes about love and relationships—almost always tortured and doomed. His latest collection of stories, This Is How You Lose Her, is no different, though perhaps with an extra dose of infidelity. So what does the Pulitzer Prize winner prescribe for getting over a split? “I like to read beautiful books about people even more heartbroken than me,” he tells Zola. Here, his five favorites and why they provide such comfort.
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
“A magnum opus of love. A novel that in fact sparked off one of my most important relationships. This novel is all about hope and the dream of a second chance with lost love. Almost never happens but this book makes sublime art out of that possibility. I always cry when I read this novel. Always.”
“Rosario is one of the great tough female characters of all time. She is a sicario and here’s a story about a rich boy in love with a poor damaged female killer. Doesn’t really get stranger or more wrenching than that.”
South of the Border, West of the Sun
“This is one of those books about first infatuations, how they can come to haunt us throughout our lives. Our narrator Hajime is so closed off emotionally that he only has a memory of connection and even that is a bit spurious. His first ‘love’ Shimamoto returns to his life and the rest is near madness.”
The Giant’s House
“A harsh, honest librarian falls in love with a boy who never stops growing – who becomes a giant. This is one of those heartbreakers that will stay with you for years afterward.”
This article originally appeared on Zola Books.