When I first purchased Say Her Name some months back it was with a mix of anticipation and fear. I was happy to have another one of Francisco Goldman’s novels, excited to be sucked into his always entrancing prose. I knew the narrative would pull me in and not let me go, but, this time around, I wasn’t sure if I was ready.
The difficult thing is that Say Her Name is the story of how Goldman lost his wife Aura Estrada and his horrific personal journey away from the brink of real madness and through the process of writing about her life and their relationship. But unlike my experience of other books that deal with grief in this personal, physical way, I knew the main actors in the drama. This meant that reading this act of remembrance was also a trip through my own memories of this amazing person, Aura. While I only spent time with her on a few occasions, those times were incredibly intense and, in the case of their wedding in San Miguel de Allende, overwhelmingly joyful.
Goldman has talked about writing this novel as a way of bringing Aura back to life, resuscitating her and living with her again through the writing process. Aura does come back to life in the book, she becomes the same witty, smart, hilarious, vibrant person that she was in daily life. And this is both a rush of joy and a bittersweet encounter.
Please make time to come see Francisco Goldman on September 19, 2011 at the Wortham Center downtown.