Say Her Name

Say Her Name

by Francisco Goldman
3.7 20


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Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman

In 2005, celebrated novelist Francisco Goldman married a beautiful young writer named Aura Estrada in a romantic Mexican hacienda. 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. 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 grief and creates a living portrait of a love as joyous 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've been.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802145802
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 04/10/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 384,936
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Francisco Goldman is a professor of English at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and the acclaimed author of several books, including Say Her Name, The Long Night of White Chickens, and The Ordinary Seaman.

A two-time Audie Award winner, veteran actor Robert Fass is equally at home in a wide variety of styles, genres, characters, and dialects. He has earned multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for his narration of Francisco Goldman's novel Say Her Name.

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Say Her Name 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Humbee More than 1 year ago
Grief is emotional and physical's not something that just dissipates as the days go by like people say it does. It's something that rewires you, shatters your whole life and changes you forever. Finally, Francisco Goldman has touched the ends of that agony and is capable of sharing it with us. There is hope for those who need that comfort now...both for women and men. Francisco Goldman is positively a man familiar with the agonies of grief. He knows the living death of grief. He knows the impossiblities of having to go on living after the death of the one person who makes life worth living. And, he is the most gorgeous and generous of tellers of that experience I have ever known to be alive in my time. He's a writer of the most profound gifts to share. "Say Her Name" is a magnificent tribute to Goldman's love, Aura, his precious young wife of only 4 years. Her life affected him in such a way as to brand his heart and soul eternally, and he shows that in an eloquence of language and writing that is timeless, heart-wrenching, and a memorial of their relationship. I was simply spellbound by his story and his prose. Although this book is fiction, you will be instantly gripped by the love story,the angst of it and the autobiographical insistance. It is a haunting story. Descriptively, Goldman is a master writer. Let me quote him as he speaks of loss and desolution here: "Every day a ghostly ruin. Every day the ruin of the day that was supposed to have been. Every second on the clock clicking forward, anything I do or see or think, all of it made of ashes and charred shards, the ruins of the future. The life we were going to live, the years we were going to spend together, it was as if that life had already occurred millennia ago, in a lost secret city deep in the jungle, now crumbled into ruins, overgrown, its inhabitants extinguished, never discovered, their story never told by any human being outside it--a lost city with a lost name that only I remember--" What touched me at a level of wonder and anger, actually, was that in the telling of his relationship with his wife, Aura, I saw Mr. Goldman's self-effacing and self-sacrificing love; while Aura's was more narcissistic and selfish. Although Francisco gave her his all in love, she was often "ashamed" of him, hiding him away from her college peers, "made jokes" about his age and how ugly he was; i.e., he was easily 30 yrs. older, and manipulated him into all sorts of things. Goldman shares these qualities openly and without rancour as a part of who Aura was and what their relationship was like; but, as a reader, I was struck by how insensitive she was to him in return of his obvious devotion to her. Was he was aware of this as he wrote the book? I doubt it. I believe he was only telling the parts about her that he remembered and wanted to preserve. I don't mean to say that Aura didn't love Francisco, she seemed to, of course, and they had a beautiful relationship, but his love was more profound, I think. Aura was a young woman intent on being a writer and she had determination to that end. This is a book which will send you directly into the heart of the darkness of human misery after the loss of a loved one, and it will send you into the heart of a love so powerful it transcends that pain. Francisco Goldman is a magnificent author.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
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.
suzze More than 1 year ago
Francisco Goldman's "novel" will stay with me for a long time. Such beautiful language, such heart-felt emotions. As I was reading it, I wasn't sure how much I liked it, as it seemed too "high-brow" for me, with two brilliant writers, fluent in several languages, living in two countries, dropping names of professors and authors that I have never heard of. But the crux of the book was Francisco's relationship with his wife, Aura, and a celebration of her life, even as he grieves her tragic death. Haunting.
srkromer More than 1 year ago
Haunting Tale of Love and Loss Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman is a haunting tale of love and grief.  The way that Goldman tells this autobiographical novel draws the reader into his pain making you feel his grief and guilt towards the death of his wife, Aura. The story takes you through Francisco’s life when he is dating Aura, their marriage, and the year after her death.  The love he had for his wife shines through in his writing, making the reader feel so connected with his grief.   The gist of the story is that Francisco marries a much younger Mexican woman, Aura, who is aspiring to be a writer but is getting her PhD at her mother’s request.  Goldman takes us through the two short years that they were married, before they go on vacation to the beach for two weeks in Mexico.  They spend a lot of time back in Aura’s home country when they are not in New York City.  They had been to this beach several times before and the waves were not as dangerous as some of the other Mexican beaches.  Near the end of the story you finally learn how she dies at the beach and why Francisco blames himself and his mother-in-law does as well.  I thought this book was so well-written and I would recommend to anyone.  I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.
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Goldclan creek.
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bcarr More than 1 year ago
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. I would give it a 5 but there are several passages in spanish and not translated. I do not speak spanish.
BetsyTN More than 1 year ago
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.
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