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One of the most talented and award-winning writers of his generation, Francisco Goldman’s third novel, The Divine Husband, appeared to wide and rapturous acclaim. Beginning with a single, possibly scandalous love poem by Jose Marti, Cuba’s greatest revolutionary-poet-hero with an infamous secret love life, The Divine Husband is the story of Maria de las Nieves Moran, a former nun forced out of her convent by a revolution in a Central American capital. While making her way in this metropolis nicknamed “The Little ...
One of the most talented and award-winning writers of his generation, Francisco Goldman’s third novel, The Divine Husband, appeared to wide and rapturous acclaim. Beginning with a single, possibly scandalous love poem by Jose Marti, Cuba’s greatest revolutionary-poet-hero with an infamous secret love life, The Divine Husband is the story of Maria de las Nieves Moran, a former nun forced out of her convent by a revolution in a Central American capital. While making her way in this metropolis nicknamed “The Little Paris,” she enrolls in a writing class taught by Jose Marti, under whose spell Maria de las Nieves and her classmates quickly fall. Soon after, Maria de las Nieves flees her home for New York, where Marti has also relocated -- a crucial interval that shaped Marti’s consciousness. Nearly a century later, an elderly woman in Massachusetts hires a college student to investigate her claim that she is the illegitimate offspring of Marti and Maria de las Nieves. Mixing a lovingly re-created historical past with often hilarious, ironic, and moving conjecture that brings to life an unforgettable heroine and her remarkable collection of friends, nemeses, and rival suitors, The Divine Husband is a magnificent American novel.
In The Divine Husband, Francisco Goldman follows the youthful José Martí from Central America to New York City.
Posted December 11, 2009
Francisco Goldman's "The Divine Husband" or "El Esposo Divino" the Spanish translation somebody gave me to read is a well written fiction novel. I would give it an eight on a scale of one to ten. It is an excellent novel if you ignore the erroneous history facts about Guatemala and José Martí the Cuban Independence apostle.
I call it a fiction novel even though he tries to involve in it the Cuban poet José Martí and Francisca Aparicio, the wife of the Reformer President of Guatemala Justo Rufino Barrios. Goldman, as a true "gringo", did not research the contributions Justo Rufino Barrios made to his country and called him the "anti-Christ",because it is true he got the orders of nuns out of Guatemala, confiscated church property, reduced the number of clergy in the country and some conservative catholic people might give him that name.
Justo Rufino Barrios introduced the first Constitution to the Country, since previous presidents governed by decree only. His government introduces the freedom of speech and religious freedom when previous governments did not tolerate a non-catholic religion. He welcomed Protestant missionaries, established civil marriage and divorce. He initiated the secular public schools and Universities and that was the reason José Martí came to Guatemala and worked as a teacher in the schools and National University before going back to Cuba to give his life for the independence of his country. His government also organized the police and got a policeman from New York to lead the effort. His government sent people to the United States to learn about the mail system and the telegraph. His government introduced the telegraph system and the railroad. In sum, Justo Rufino Barrios deserved the name of "The Reformer" rather than the "anti-Christ". Justo Rufino also encouraged the European immigration to Guatemala that brought many Germans, who industrialized the coffee farms and Italians to work in the railroads.
And his fictional characters of Maria de las Nieves and Marco Aurelio Chinchilla. Mr.Goldman as a good "gringo" assumes that if the name of the person is also the name given to an animal, that person has to be of indigenous origen, notwithstanding if the name was given to the animal by his discoverer's name. There have been only two persons with the name of Marco Aurelio Chinchilla and they were from a century later. One was born in 1908 and the other in 1934, none of them Indians. The Spanish families and families around the world by that last name now must know they are of indigenous background according to Mr. Goldman. Mr. Goldman should have researched the Mayan names in Guatemala before taking the names of real people to include them in his novel. The Spanish families with the Chinchilla last name, according to Goldman, must be of Guatemalan indigenous decent, such as Spaniard Captain Vicente Chinchilla who arrived in Guatemala in 1761. The only Marco Aurelio in Justo Rufino Barrios time was Marco Aurelio Soto then Secretary of Education who gave the position to José Martí as a teacher.
Mr. Goldman, in his well rounded imagination, reduces José Martí to a teen-age seducer without taking in account Martí's fervor for the independence of Cuba from Spain and any other Empire trying to subjugate his country.
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