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Say Her Name [Kindle Edition]

Francisco Goldman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Goldman's (The Divine Husband) fifth book is a highly personal account of the author's life in the aftermath of his young wife's drowning. Goldman moves in time from meeting Aura in New York and her harrowing death on Mexico's Pacific Coast to the painful and solitary two years that followed in Brooklyn, marked in part by his mother-in-law's claim that he was responsible for Aura's death. His struggles to exonerate himself from his own conscience, and from his mother-in-law's legal threats, is electric and poignant, encapsulated in painful such moments as the author's discovery of "the indentations of Aura's scooping fingers like fossils" in the surface of her face scrub soon after her death. Goldman also includes fragments of Aura's fiction and her diary: "Played Atari like crazy, rearranged my Barbie house" recall her youth in Mexico City, and "We're on a plane, we've spent most of the day traveling, Paco asleep on my shoulder" illuminate the private moments of the couple's life. Goldman calls this book a novel and employs some novelistic techniques (composite characters, for instance), but the foundation is in truth: messy, ugly, and wildly complicated truth. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Winner of the Prix Femina Etranger A Best Book of the Year: "New York Times" Notable"New York" magazine"Entertainment WeeklyBoston Globe""Pittsburgh Post-Gazette""Publishers Weekly"Barnes and Noble"The Guardian""The Globe and Mail""The Daily Telegraph""The Independent""Sunday Herald""The Herald" (Glasgow)"The Daily Mail"Shelf Awareness "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 "(A-) "A masterpiece of storytelling and scene-setting."--Colm Toibin, "The Guardian "(Best Books of 2011) "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" "To call Francisco Goldman's book about the death of his young Mexican wife an elegy hardly represents it. Lament is closer, but insufficient. It is a chain of eruptions, a meteor shower; not just telling but bombarding us in a loss that glitters. With the power and fine temper of its writing, it is as much poem as prose. . . . Tense set pieces, respectively heartbreaking and ch

Product Details

  • File Size: 590 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004RPY46K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant literary monument to Aura Estrada April 2, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Say Her Name: A Novel by Francisco Goldman is so much more than another book about grief. It is a literary monument erected by a man whose life was utterly blown apart when death wrenched his beloved from his heart. The man is Francisco Goldman and this book is his monument to Aura, his soul mate and the light of his life, a light which was forever extinguished in this world on July 25, 2007.

Usually when I finish a book I can promptly gather up my thoughts about it and quickly translate them into a book review, but this was not the case this time. This deceptive novel snuck up on me, enveloping me slowly in gradually mounting emotion until at the height of pain's crescendo, the story took me prisoner and battered me breathless, leaving me gasping, sobbing and weeping ~ for Aura, for Francisco and for myself. I had to put the book away until I could find my composure, process my own emotions, and think objectively rather than empathetically about this brilliant work of literary art.

The anniversary of my husband's unexpected death by a massive heart attack is quickly approaching. It is extraordinary that lately I have come across so many fine works of literature with which I can identify and find solace. It has been 18 years since I awoke from an afternoon nap, walked into the living room expecting to go to my husband and as usual cover his warm, fuzzy face in my adoring kisses, only to find him face down on the floor. When I turned him over, there was no mistaking that he was gone. It was the worst moment of my life. I will never forget those lifeless blue eyes that only an hour earlier had looked so lovingly into mine.

These books of grief therefore have become vital to me.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bracingly Beautiful Tribute To A Truncated Life March 7, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Grief is, by and large, a private and intimate thing. We utter a few platitudes and then turn away in discomfort from who are laid bare by their grief. And emotionally, we begin to withdraw.

Francisco Goldman shatters those boundaries in his devastating book Say Her Name, forcing the reader to pay witness to the exquisite and blinding pain of a nearly unbearable loss. He positions the reader as a voyeur in a most intimate sadness, revealing the most basic nuances and details and the most complex ramifications of the loss of someone dear.

And in the process, he captures our attention, rather like Samuel Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, until the reader is literally as fascinated and transfixed with Aura Estrada - Francisco Goldman's young and doomed wife - as he himself is. It is a masterful achievement, hard to read, hard to pull oneself away from.

The barebones of his story are these: Francisco Goldman married a much younger would-be writer named Aura, who gives every indication of literary greatness. They revel in their marriage for two short years, but right before their second anniversary, Aura breaks her neck while body surfing and dies the next day. Francisco is raw with grief, which is exacerbated by Aura's passionately devoted and controlling mother Juanita, who blames him for the tragedy.

Brick by brick, Francisco builds a literary altar to the vibrant and exuberant woman he married. And at the same time, he lays naked his own grief at her loss: "Little did I suspect...that I would ever learn what it was like to feel swallowed up by my own sobbing, grief sucking me like marrow from a bone." And later: "Every day a ghostly train. Every day the ruin of the day that was supposed to have been.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Aura... and you'll never forget it February 28, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Francisco Goldman's not-quite memoir, not-quite novel, arrives with a plethora of quotes attesting to its haunting beauty, heart-wrenching story, exquisite writing. For once, these are not platitudes proffered by fellow writers to help a friend sell books. No, they are nothing less than the truth of the matter. Goldman's account of his all-too-brief marriage to the writer Aura Estrada, before her horrendously early death in a surf-boarding accident, is one of the most moving, passionate, anguished, love stories this reader has EVER encountered. Indeed, there is only one problem with the work. It is SO well done, SO intimate, that one cannot help but feel, every so often, that this is TOO personal. I should not be reading this! I'm an intruder; An outlier! But one does keep reading. Because one cannot stop. And we feel, finally, exhilarated at the end, that such a love... and such a writer... can be.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Aura....Bad Paco June 19, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Positives: The author does a terrific job bringing Aura back to life. She is a high strung but lovable character. Heroic. Funny. The last 50 pages are heart wrenching.

Negatives: I wish there were a more politically correct way to say this, but unfortunately the author does a good job of bringing himself to life as well. The way he churns through women so casually, so selfishly. And God forbid if they might be near his age and perhaps up to the game he likes playing. Aura deserved better.

I almost stopped reading this 2 or 3 times because the guy was such a creep. He is an excellent writer though
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars and Say Her Name has been the best; and I'm including C
My youngest daughter drowned while on vacation in Baja California nine years ago, and I've spent nine years begging people to say her name. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rosemarie OConnor
5.0 out of 5 stars Love never read so good
I read about this book in The Believer first and reading it proved to be as great as I was expecting it to be. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Radovan Andrej Grezo
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful love story
This is a heart-wrenchingly lovely novel about love and loss. It's the story of Francisco Goldman, a writer who falls in love with a beautiful Mexican girl -- also a writer -- more... Read more
Published 4 months ago by W. Haley
4.0 out of 5 stars Aura
Magnificent recount and hope to love and be loved at any age with that kind of inconmensurable love that is enough to sustain you for the rest of your lifetime.
Published 9 months ago by norma hernandez
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a tribute than a story
Author Francisco Goldman's wife died at much too early of an age. This book is neither a novel nor a memoir--but basically a random collection of memories and anecdotes about her,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Cathe
5.0 out of 5 stars Life and Literature fuse in a Poetic Love Story
AURA GOLDMAN died on July 25, 2007. She had just turned 30. She and FRANCISCO GOLDMAN--sometimes called "Frank" and sometimes called "Paco"--had only been married for two years,... Read more
Published 12 months ago by katherine tomlinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly beautiful and sad
This book is a heartbreaking masterpiece of grief and love. Originally an essay called "The Wave" in the New Yorker (which I why I kept having deja vu when reading the book), it is... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Susan Ito
5.0 out of 5 stars Wowwww!
Unbelievable! Francisco (Paco) Goldman, has been able to put in paper a feeling almost impossible to describe in words. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Readingone
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply affecting
I read this book almost two years ago and still think about it often. Beautifully written, incredibly sad, a perfect and lasting love letter.
Published 17 months ago by HEHering
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much everything day experience
I was through the book, expecting for something more exiting. Even thoug I did enjoy the way he talks about all the places he knew in Mexico City
Published 17 months ago by Igabyt
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