Excerpt from Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Say Her Name

A Novel

By Francisco Goldman

Say Her Name
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Apr 2011,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2012,
    368 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Now, fifteen months after Aura's death, coming home without her again - no one to meet me at the airport this time - I found the apartment exactly as I'd left it in July. The bed was unmade. The first thing I did was open all the windows, letting in the cool, damp October air.

Aura's Mac Book was still there, on her desk. I'd be able to pick up where I'd left off, working on, organizing, trying to piece together her stories, essays, poems, her just begun novel, and her unfinished writings, the thousands of fragments, really, that she left in her computer, in her labyrinthine and scattered manner of storing files and documents. I thought I felt ready to immerse myself in that task.

In the bedroom there were old dead rose petals, darker than blood, on the floor around the vase in front of the altar, but the vase was empty. In the kitchen, Aura's plants, despite not having been watered in three months, were still alive. I stuck my finger in the soil of one pot and found it moist.

Then I remembered that I'd left a key with the upstairs neighbors, asking them to water Aura's plants while I was away. I'd only intended to go to Mexico for the first anniversary and stay a month, but I'd stayed three, and they'd kept it up all that time. They'd thrown out the dead roses, which must have begun to rot and smell. And they'd collected my mail in a shopping bag that they had put next to the couch, just inside the apartment door.

On the beach we - I and some of the swimmers who saw or heard my cries for help - pulled Aura out of the water and set her down in the almost ditch-like incline gouged by the waves, and then we picked her up again and carried her to where it was level and laid her on the hot sand. As she fought for air, closing and opening her mouth, whispering only the word "aire" when she needed me to press my lips to hers again, Aura said something that I don't actually remember hearing, just as I remember so little of what happened, but her cousin Fabiola, before she took off looking for an ambulance, heard it and later told me. What Aura said, one of the last things she ever said to me, was: Quiéreme mucho, mi amor. Love me a lot, my love. No quiero morir. I don't want to die.

That may have been the last full sentence she ever spoke, maybe her very last words.

Did that sound self-exculpating? Is this the kind of statement I should prohibit myself from making? Sure, Aura's plea and invocation of love would play well on any jury's emotions and sympathies, but I'm not in a courtroom. I need to stand nakedly before the facts; there's no way to fool this jury that I am facing. It all matters, and it's all evidence.

Excerpted from Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman. Copyright © 2011 by Francisco Goldman. Excerpted by permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Aura Estrada Prize

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

Great literature cannot grow from a neglected or impoverished soil...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.