Books & Books, Coral Gables. Apr 25, 2011. 8:00 p.m.
Acclaimed writer Francisco Goldman was a self-professed niñote, or man – child – unlucky in love, resistant to commitment – when he met the beautiful Aura Estrada, and the contours of his world shifted absolutely. Aura was a brilliant graduate student in creative writing whose forthrightness and passion for life was finally a match to Francisco’s own, and before long their lives were intertwined. They were married in the summer of 2005.
The month before their second anniversary, during a long-awaited holiday, Aura died from injuries sustained in a swimming accident in Mexico. Francisco, blamed for Aura’s death by her family, and blaming himself, wanted to die, too. But instead he began to write.
In Say Her Name, Goldman gives us the novel of Aura, and of their life together, weighing the glorious gifts of their shared journey against its heavy costs. In spite of their age difference, Francisco and Aura shared a youthful delight in the unexpected, connected in their desire to create and be changed by inspiration. Through the prism of his memories and her gifted writings, we follow Aura from her childhood and university days in Mexico City with her fiercely protective mother to her studies at Columbia University, and then her newlywed years with Francisco in New York City and abroad. Goldman invites us into the endearing strangeness of their private world, and in doing so, breathes Aura back to life – a spritely, witty, free-spirited dynamo, luminous and exuberant.
Say Her Name is an exceptional work about love and loss, destiny and accountability, and about how art chooses its servants, and in this case brought them together. What begins as a desperate attempt to make sense of death, becomes an indelible testament to what it means to be transformed by love.
Francisco Goldman is the author of four books – three works of fiction (The Long Night of White Chickens, The Ordinary Seaman, and The Divine Husband) and one work of non-fiction, The Art of Political Murder. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fellow at the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers, and he is currently Allan K. Smith Professor of English at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. His fiction and journalism have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, The New York Review of Books, Outside, and many other publications. He lives in New York City and Mexico City.
Books & Books
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