Monkey Boy

Grove. May 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780802157676. $27. F
In 2011, Goldman released the heartbreaking autobiographical novel Say Her Name to wide acclaim. That same year, he also released The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle, a work of immersive journalism that followed him through the streets of Mexico City as he grappled with grief and the city’s infamous traffic. Goldman’s newest autobiographical novel draws from his own life’s story to muse on the divided self and the fragments of the past that point to our uncertain future. Francisco Goldberg, the narrator, is in search of himself. Returning to his hometown of Boston to visit his aging mother, Goldberg begins to probe his own identity, his relationship with his abusive father, and his mother’s numerous secrets. Unfolding in stories and memories, the narrative oscillates among Goldberg’s upbringing in suburban Boston, his family’s history in Guatemala, and his recent return to New York City. Fusing elements of creative nonfiction with autoethnography, Francisco Goldman creates the speculative ghost of a parallel life in Francisco Goldberg.
VERDICT Fans of Goldman’s bibliography will find much to delight in here.
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