Celebrated novelist Francisco Goldman married a beautiful young writer named Aura Estrada in a romantic Mexican hacienda in the summer of 2005. The month before their second anniversary, during a long-awaited holiday, Aura broke her neck while body-surfing. Francisco, blamed for Aura’s death by her family and blaming himself, wanted to die, too. But instead he wrote Say Her Name, a novel chronicling his great love and unspeakable loss, tracking the stages of grief when pure love gives way to bottomless pain. Suddenly a widower, Goldman collects everything he can about his wife, hungry to keep Aura alive with every memory. From her childhood and university days in Mexico City with her fiercely devoted mother to her studies at Columbia University, through their newlywed years in New York City and travels to Mexico and Europe---and always through the prism of her gifted writings---Goldman seeks her essence and grieves her loss. Humor leavens the pain as he lives through the madness of utter grief and creates a living portrait of a love as joyous and playful as it is deep and profound. Say Her Name is a love story, a bold inquiry into destiny and accountability, and a tribute to Aura, who she was and who she would have been.
“Quietly devastating . . . Powerful . . . As the story builds—inevitably, unbearably—toward Aura’s last day, Goldman has so convincingly brought her to life that her death still somehow comes as a shock. . . . Goldman’s beautifully written, deeply felt ode to his wife . . . lets you meet this unusual woman through Goldman’s lovestruck gaze, and you can’t help falling for her a little too. Even after the book ends, the sting of Aura’s absence lingers.” (Entertainment Weekly)
"Goldman's searing novel Say Her Name is for me the book of the year. . . . A soaring paean to a brilliant young woman and to the infinite invincible power of love." (Junot Diaz, New York (Favorite Books of the Year)
“Passionate and moving . . . Beautifully written… the truth that emerges in this book has less to do with the mystery of [Aura’s] death . . . than with the miracle of the astonishing, spirited, deeply original young woman Goldman so adored….So remarkable is this resurrection that at times I felt the book itself had a pulse.” (The New York Times Book Review)
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Say her name...but not that way
- Pamela Harvey "glam"
Should have stayed a magazine article
The personal failed to transcend and become universal.
Goldman could have been a little less obsessed with diarising the relationship, and put more effort into a philosophical approach to the tragedy, thereby placing it in the broader scheme of his life.
Goldman's untrammeled adoration for his young wife prevented us from seeing what there actually was to adore. A little less telling, and a lot more showing could have made it more believable.