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Say her name • The New York Times by Robin Romm
In the first scene of Francisco Goldman’s passionate and moving autobiographical novel (or fictionalized memoir, depending on your bias), he travels to Paris with his young girlfriend, Aura Estrada. At her insistence, they go to the Jardin des Plantes to see the exotic salamanders Julio Cortázar wrote about in his famous story “Axolotl.” She wants to stare at them through the glass of their aquarium like the story’s protagonist. The wish to stare through glass to come to an understanding (of the axolotl, of the workings of a writer’s mind, of what cannot truly be understood) elegantly conveys the project of “Say Her Name,” this beautifully written account of Goldman’s short marriage to Estrada, a fiction writer who died in a bodysurfing accident in 2007, two years into their marriage, when she was 30.