By Francisco Goldman
The Long Night of White Chickens was my introduction to Francisco Goldman, the author who I selected to review due to his connections to Guatemala, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Though born in Boston, his mother is a Catholic Guatemalan, his father Jewish American, so his life started off with an intriguing combination of influences. The book is a tense, almost surrealistic detective story that opens windows on the Latin American reality of State Sponsored assassinations, marabunta youth gangs and organized crime.
His next book, Say Her Name, is an evocative story of love and loss between the author and the woman he fell in love with and married, writer Aura Estrada. Tragically, a month before their second wedding anniversary, Aura breaks her neck body surfing. To deal with the loss and deep-seated feelings of guilt, Goldman chronicles his unspeakable loss, and the stages of grief when love and passion give way to inexplicable pain.
The author recalls memories from their university days in Mexico City, her studies at Columbia University, their early years together in New York City, and the exhilaration of youthful travels in Mexico and Europe. Humor and humility lighten the pain of the author’s overwhelming loss.