An inability or unwillingness to imagine

Cleveland Place (Completely, Irrevocably) ©MAIERMOUL
Cleveland Place (Completely, Irrevocably) ©MAIERMOUL

I guess I could have written “The Cheater’s Guide to Love” with the fiancée in it, but that just felt unnecessary.

She is lost to Yunior completely, irrevocably, and I figured best way to communicate that loss was by being literal—by making her unavailable to the reader as well. I wanted Yunior’s loss to work on its own terms, for that loss to become its own force the way serious loss often does. I wanted to capture those heartbreaks that never seem to leave us—that stay in us like radiation—those heartbreaks where getting over it becomes an epic battle with ourselves.

Another reason for the fiancée’s absence, of course, has to do with one of the story’s Big Themes. A large part of Yunior’s problem as a character is that he suffers from that most typical of masculine deficiencies: an inability or unwillingness to imagine the women in his life as fully human. He really can’t see the woman he messes with, not really. I don’t present the fiancée because Yunior never really saw her in the first place.

– Junot Diaz, interview, The New Yorker, 2012