Thursday, May 26, 2011

Francisco Goldman – SAY HER NAME

In May of 2005 Aura Estrada and Francisco Goldman were married near San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. It was a huge outdoor wedding, suited to the long distance that the guests had travelled to be there. I only dimly remember the particulars of that day: large tents housing the dinner tables, the never ending supply of tequila, the bride and groom floats that cheerily danced above our heads after the more serious march down the aisle. I can vividly recall Frank grinning so widely as to look even less real than the float, more like a child's drawing of a happy face than an actual person. Leading him around this happily entranced figure was the youthful Aura, who, in contrast to Frank's otherworldly look, was very much in her element, dancing lightly around the grass and among the guests as though in her own home.

That was the first and last time I saw Aura Estrada. She died on July 25, 2007, in the unlikeliest of accidents on a beach in Mexico, just after her thirtieth birthday and just before her and Frank's second anniversary. This is the tragedy that opens Say Her Name, a book that that serves as a memorial to Aura, a memoir of love and loss and a meditation on the mystery of other lives.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Americano Book Review!

I just finished a stint as a guest editor of a very special issue of The American Book Review devoted to Mexican-American literature of the West. My introduction, along with a contribution from Dagoberto Gilb and a table of contents, are available at the ABR website. To read the whole thing you'll have to find a copy on a newsstand or order one from the web. It's worth it, though, as it's a pretty interesting read. We put together a pretty broad range of work in the issue--from a discussion of graphic novels by Hector Cantú (the man behind the comic strip Baldo), a piece about Gary Soto by Michael Jaime-Becerra (a novelist) and even a piece by screenwriter Josefina Lopez (of Real Women Have Curves fame). For a taste, there are a couple things available online. Oscar Villalon (formerly books editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and currently managing editor of Zyzzyva) has posted his piece--a reflective piece on living in the Latino literary world--on his own blog and it's definitely worth a read. And, my own review of a recent book called Migra! by Kelly Lytle-Hernandez, is printed after the break. (As a warning, I should say it's a slightly more personal essay than what's been on this blog so far--though only slightly.)