Friday, February 27, 2015

Say Her Name Kindle Notes and Highlights--Beautiful Writing from Goldman

Below are my highlights from my 2014 Reading List selection.
This is a beautiful story that I will want to read again some day soon.  A man's wife dies in a tragic accident (for which her family blames him) and this novel is his recollection of her and his love for her. Heartbreaking and beautiful read.

Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman
You have 23 highlighted passages
Last annotated on June 2, 2014

Où sont les axolotls? she wrote in her notebook. Where are they?

That diamond came and went like a wandering star in the night sky, visible from earth only two or three times a year.

their windblown fragments of speech like lines experimental poetry.

Soon we were watching the iridescent pastels of the sunset spreading over the water and blazing in the sky above the strip of jungle between us and the ocean, the whole place throbbing with bird calls, as if every glowing tree and plant hid a boisterous bird or two, and we both felt stunned into separate peaceful meditations on the crazy sublimity of what we were witnessing, each of us filling with a sense of mystical wonder and loneliness that merged into one mystical wonder and loneliness together.

It was as if we’d just been married in a secret ceremony conducted by the birds.

Now, I have to guard against the danger of confusing how Aura’s mother regarded me or spoke to me with any aspect of how Aura did—one of death’s corrosive betrayals.

The way she pronounces Frank when we’re alone, and the way it wakes up my heart. I can hear and feel it inside me, that soft near-honk caressed by plush lips, a down-stuffed vowel that floats on her breath past n and lightly smacks k. But in her writing, in her e-mails, she always called me Paco.

Love is a religion. You can only believe it when you’ve experienced it.

Moments of temporary separation and absence and even loss that were like little rehearsals for what was coming. Not premonition, but actual visitations, death coming through its portal, taking Aura away, putting her back, receding back into its hole.

To reach the beach where our hotel was, we’d turn off the highway onto a long stretch of dirt road, the car hitting the softer surface at nearly highway speed, bouncing and seeming to lift off and float through a brown cloud of churned-up dirt as if riding one prolonged note of José José’s sonorous voice, and that sense of dislocation again, of being propelled through a portal, from an in-between world, back into the beach town of Tulum.

never understood it, this awful urge to push her off the subway platform while simultaneously pulling her to safety, rescuing her from phantom fiends but also from myself.

Love does change your behavior, it does force you to aim for a higher standard. change

want my friend back, I thought; we talked in signs and formed a great team. Maybe I feel sick of people not understanding what this is like, but it’s not like I wish for anyone else to live through this. I stamped out Aura’s cigarette and lit another one. Hold her tight, if you have her; hold her tight, I thought, that’s my advice to all the living. Breathe her in, put your nose in her hair, breathe her in deeply. Say her name. It will always be her name. Not even death can steal it. Same alive as dead, always. Aura Estrada.
You always felt destined for stardom of one kind or another. But the fear that maybe that wasn’t true wouldn’t leave you alone. That you were no more than the classes you’d taken, the schools you’d attended, the books you’d read, the languages you spoke, your scholarships, your master’s thesis on Borges and the English writers, and so on, but nobody unique, with a talent only your own. You were desperate for something that was yours alone. I was yours alone, but that isn’t what you meant.

Impulsiveness: an ungovernable excess bubbling up from within.
Maybe memory is overrated. Maybe forgetting is better. (Show me the Proust of forgetting, and I’ll read him tomorrow.) Sometimes it’s like juggling
hundred thousand crystal balls in the air all at once, trying to keep all these memories going. Every time one falls to the floor and shatters into dust, another crevice cracks open inside me, through which another chunk of who we were disappears forever. I wouldn’t sell that tube of sticks for a thousand dollars.

“As a wave ages, it gradually grows higher, longer and consequently faster.” Where was Aura’s wave that night, as we slept in our bunks in the hostel in Oaxaca? Was it already a murderous old wave, or still a relatively young one,

born only the night before in a tropical storm maybe only a thousand miles out to sea? There’s a Borges poem that ends with the lines: ¿Quién es el mar, quién soy? Lo sabré el día Ulterior que sucede a la agonía. Who is the sea, who am I? I’ll know the day that follows after the agony—agonía, in this context, could be even more accurately translated as “death throes.” Am I the wave?

Inconsolable doesn’t mean that you are sometimes consolable. The way things are has seemed right to me; it’s all been as it should be, or as if it could not be any other way. I even feel grateful for some of the appalling things that have been said to me—Why can’t you go back to being the way you were before you met Aura?—because they starkly demarcate a border, showing you a truth about where you are now, whereas a supposedly sensitive comment might only soften that border a little, but never make it less impenetrable. You have to, can only, live this on your own.
Aura said, I don’t want to die. She said, There’s so much I want to do. No quiero morir

really don’t have much time left, I thought. It’ll all be over in a blink. I thought of Juanita and Leopoldo and their hatred of me, and their determination to erase from Aura’s history our love and marriage. In a way, I thought, it’s as if they took those windows down and instead of putting them away and keeping them safe, they stole and hid them. These words came to me: Your hatred can save me. Your hatred can even free me. Because it leaves behind an emptiness that I have an obligation to fill in for Aura and me. Those are the words that came to me in that church.

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