Monday, February 20, 2006

Interview with Francisco Goldman

Interview with the Author of The Divine Husband
Francisco Goldman's heritage stems from his American Jewish father and his Guatemalan mother. He was raised in Eastern Massachusetts and began his writing career covering the Central American wars in the 1980s, first for Esquire and later for Harper's. He is the author of three novels, The Long Night of White Chickens, The Ordinary Seaman and recently The Divine Husband (September 2004). His first two novels have won numerous awards, and Goldman has received a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as other accolades. He teaches at Trinity College, and his writings have appeared in major publications too numerous to list. Francisco Goldman divides his time between Brooklyn and Mexico City.

The Divine Husband, as you will learn in the conversation that follows, was inspired by the legendary Cuban cultural patriarch Jose Martí's famous love poem, "La Niña de Guatemala." Martí spent only a little more than a year in Guatemala, where much of this novel takes place. But that time affected his life and most certainly affected Guatemala. Goldman's rich tapestry of history and fiction is a splendid tale with vital and spirited characters: Maria de las Nieves, whose relationship with Great Man Martí as well as the paternity of her child are the engine of this narrative; Mack Chinchilla, described as a Yankee-Indio entrepreneur who courts Maria; Wellesley Bludyar, a British diplomat and an another of Maria’s suitors; and Don Jose, the Jewish umbrella repairman, her closest confidante and The Mysterious Muchacho.

Here is novelist Claire Messud's take on The Divine Husband: "For all its considerable length, tightly compacted. No paragraph is extraneous, or ignorable, as the account--occasionally breathless--doubles back on itself, takes up and reworks strands like a Bach invention, all the while providing distinct narrative tenors for its three central characters, María, and Martí, and Mack. The book offers frames within frames, tour-de-force descriptions, grand set pieces. It is replete with idiosyncratic details and strange historical facts. The prose slides from lyrical to practical, the diction from august to mundane. Goldman echoes Flaubert, Garciá Marquez, and even DeLillo, as well as biography and newspaper journalism, but he remains his own literary master, and in this book succeeds in making the novel new. He has produced a work of ambition, seriousness, passion, and seething life. The Divine Husband confirms Goldman as one of America's most significant living novelists, a voice of audacity and gravitas that serves as inspiration to writers and readers alike."

You can find the article here

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