Nominated by:

Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Grove / Atlantic Inc. USA

Say Her Name

Francisco Goldman    

2013 Longlist

Celebrated novelist Francisco Goldman married a beautiful young writer named Aura Estrada in a romantic Mexican hacienda in the summer of 2005. 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. But 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 utter grief and creates a living portrait of a love as joyous and playful 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 have been.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Francisco Goldman is the author of four books–three works of fiction (The Long Night of White Chickens, The Ordinary Seaman, and The Divine Husband) and one work of non-fiction, The Art of Political Murder. His first novel, The Long Night of White Chickens, was awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for first fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  The Ordinary Seaman, his second novel, was a finalist for the International IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction. The Art of Political Murder was a New York Times 100 Notable Book of 2007 and a Washington Post Book World 100 Best Books of 2007. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fellow at the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers, and he is currently Allan K. Smith Professor of English at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. His fiction and journalism have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, The New York Review of Books, Outside, and many other publications. He lives in New York City and Mexico City.

Librarian’s Comments

Goldman’s novel describes the love of his life, Aura Estrada, and the tragedy of her accidental death. Married for almost two years, the story is based on their life together and the complexities of their marriage. When Aurora drowns on a vacation Francisco is overcome with grief and can only survive his pain by telling her life story. He pours over diaries and writings, weaving an intensely personal account of a memorable and passionate life.

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