Az’s CBR-III Review #11: Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman
Francisco Goldman’s first book, The Long Night of White Chickens remains to this day in my top 10 favorite books of all time. I was very excited to pick up his new book when I saw it in the library. This book blew me away, plain and simple. In his fifties, Goldman met a beautiful, talented young woman named Aura Estrada. He immediately fell in love. How could he not? And by some insane stroke of luck, she fell in love with him as well. The were together for four years, married for two. And then she died. She was thirty. It was a freak bodysurfing accident off the Pacific coast of Mexico. This book is Goldman’s way of bringing Aura back to life and he does so marvelously. He uses fragments from her diaries and short stories to reconstruct her early life, move seamlessly into a narration of his relationship with her and then takes us through the unbearable horror of her death and how he dealt with his grief and loss. This book hit home hard for me. Like Goldman, I too met the love of my life later in life. Like Goldman, I am older than my love. There’s a certain expectation there: that I will go first, that he will be the one to live without me. This was especially true with Goldman and his Aura given the 20-year difference between them. I cannot imagine losing my husband and having to survive without him. I don’t know how Goldman does it. This book is staggeringly beautiful. It is truly a labor of love as much as it is a gorgeous piece of writing. Goldman truly succeeds in his endeavor to bring Aura to life and every word of this book is a testament to the gloriously immense love they shared in the appallingly short time they had together. I honestly can’t recommend this book enough!