Monkey Boy

Francisco Goldman. Grove, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8021-5767-6
In Goldman’s captivating autobiographical novel (after the memoir The Interior Circuit), Guatemalan American writer Francisco “Frank” Goldberg returns to Boston from New York City. He’s there to visit his mother, Yolanda, in her nursing home and meet up with high school crush Marianne Lucas. Frank, who was called Monkey Boy by bullies in his all-white Boston suburb, reflects on his childhood battles with his abusive father, the source of his greatest fear. Goldman gives Frank a bit too much time to think back on Marianne in 10th grade (their dinner meeting is anticlimatic) and reflect on a recent lover and a much younger woman he’s recently met. It’s the scenes with Frank and Yolanda that make the book come alive. Described by Frank as a “niña bien,” a girl from a good family, with gaps in her lineage that hide darker-skinned ancestors, Yolanda laughs at her son’s jokes, recounts stories of her past, worries about his childlessness, and inspires Frank’s vivid meditations about living between nations, roads taken and not, the dark and tangled history of the Dirty War in Guatemala—which Frank (and Goldman) has written about—and his visions for the future. Goldman’s direct, intimate writing alone is worth the price of admission. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/11/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-8021-5769-0
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-8021-5768-3
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