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Posted July 5, 2011
A haunting story of grief
Francisco Goldman fell in love with the much younger Aura, a graduate student from Mexico, studying literature at Columbia University. To his surprise, she agreed to marry him and they lived a very happy life. He recounts their short life together in his fictional memoir Say Her Name.
On vacation in Mexico, Aura has a surfing accident and dies. Goldman is devastated, and his pain is made more unbearable by his mother-in-law who blames him for her daughter's death, and vows that he will pay for what he has done. She implies that there was foul play, and not only does he have to deal with his loss, he has to worry about being arrested for Aura's death.
Goldman's grief is palpable and visceral. He was
"no longer him. No longer a husband. No longer a man who goes to the fish store to buy dinner for himself and his wife. In less than a year I would be no longer a husband than I was a husband."
Not written as a traditional memoir, Goldman tells Aura's story, using her own writings and diaries to do so. Aura is a poet, and this book has a very poetic, almost dreamy feel to it. He delves into her childhood, her close relationship with her mother, and her insecurities. Although we know that Aura dies, she comes to vivid life on the pages of this book. It is a loving tribute from a husband to his wife.
Goldman lays his grief out on the page for all to see, and it is hard to read at times. He cannot bear to pass by the restaurants and other places they used to go to together. He builds a shrine to her in their apartment, complete with her wedding dress hanging on the mirror.
Say Her Name takes the reader on an honest, emotional journey. We get to know Aura so that her death has an effect on us. There is an element of mystery as well; how did Aura die and did her husband have any responsibility?
Aura and Goldman both studied Mexican and South American literature; if I knew more about it, that would have deepened my appreciation of the book even more.
Readers who liked Calvin Trillin's About Alice and Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking will be moved by this story as well.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 30, 2011
A beautifully written love story
Francisco Goldman tells us at the very beginning of "Say Her Name" his wife has died, after a swimming accident on a Mexican beach. It is not until after we travel with him through memories of their meeting, courtship and wedding do we read the heart wrenching details of the accident. Trying to find meaning in every detail of his time with Aura, Francisco takes us along with him on his journey through raw and bleeding grief as he weaves us through a story of self blame and ultimate healing alternating the past and present. It is not a book I would have been drawn to, but it is one I am glad I did not miss.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I would give it a 5 but there are several passages in spanish and not translated. I do not speak spanish.
Posted May 11, 2011
This book is a story of love, loss and the little things that make up the richness of a life shared. It is worth the time and the read. There is a rawness and a realness to it that sticks with you. You can also feel how those memories of someone you have lost are replayed searching for something new that makes you feel like there is still some little piece of someone to be discovered. The result of his musings is that Aura comes alive on the pages. You can almost feel you know her laugh, her wit and her pixie smile. Both their losses are tragic.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2011
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