Francisco Goldman mixes memories and fiction in the finale of his intimate trilogy entitled “Monkey Boy”


The bullying and the violence have become one of the problems to overcome in full XXI century; boys and girls face the cruelty unleashed for not sharing a nationality, race or even gender, and their vicissitudes even drag into adult life. This is something that Francis GoldmanAmerican narrator and essayist, is very aware, now, in the novel “Monkey Boy” The writer confronts a trauma from the past, delves into the mind of a man who has lost the love of his life, experiences his own grief in madness, and reports on a migrant who enters the other side of the American dream.

“I started this novel when I was coming out of mourning for Aura, who died in 2007, after breaking her spine while practicing bodysurfing, on the beaches of Mazunte, Oaxaca. I am married, I have two daughters and everything has changed. Aura’s death changed my way of writing for years and with this novel I wanted to investigate a bit about how the past influences the present and how the violent environment in which I grew up could have affected my life, our life, because mourning makes you, sometimes crazy express Francis Goldman in interview with Excelsior.

The novel “Monkey Boy” born from an anecdote Goldmann, when, during her first year of high school, she attended a party thrown by a classmate. At the age of 13, she had the illusion of starting out in love for the first time; After dancing with the girl he liked, the little boy dared to give her an innocent kiss. Shortly after, the two went out into the garden and under the moonlight they put their lips together and their tongues met for the first time, somewhat awkwardly. He thought that all that was left was to ask her to become boyfriends.

Everything changed the following Monday, that perfect weekend became the beginning of his illness. When he set foot in the school for the first time, he noticed the strange looks and whispers behind him, laughing and imitating a monkey as he crossed the patio. One of his friends told him that the girl he liked had said that, during the kiss, she felt like a banana being chewed by an ape, that unfortunate comment generated laughter, mockery, imitations and sounds of ape and a nickname that would accompany him throughout his entire school life, from that moment on he became “The Monkey Boy”.


This is just the beginning of “Monkey Boy”. This novel, finalist of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2022 and winner of American Book Awardmarks the closure of his autobiographical trilogy, after “The Inner Circuit” Y “Say her name”. Here, Goldman takes time to review not only the verbal violence of a nickname, but also his relationship with his parents and his formative period.

The insult he suffered during his childhood did not have any punishment, nor moral or disciplinary consequences for the perpetrators; but, on the contrary, the trauma followed Goldmann until after his adolescence, when he decided to kiss another girl, and even much longer until he managed to fall in love, trust him again and leave the stigmata behind.

“I had been a writer who looked outwards in his novels, after my loss I began to look inwards and give closure to a closure of more than 15 years. It is fiction in the sense that the autobiographical novel has existed forever, the matter is my own life, but it is a novel because it seeks a way to tell something, to form something and to do something that you can only do like that; when I was in my 60s I wanted to start examining my life, but in a fictitious way.” explained Francis Goldman in interview with RTVE Radio.

The Boston-born author It has a Guatemalan essence and an adopted Mexicanness. He was the son of a raging Russian-Jewish American father and a devoted mother from Guatemala; a dysfunctional relationship that also marked his life and of which he gives an account in the 384 pages of “Monkey Boy”.

The author opens the relationship with his family, with the two countries where he grew up, his trips between New York a Boston. The life of Goldmann It has not been easy, but he has found in writing the way to overcome his obstacles and cauterize his wounds. This title is the closure of his “Intimacy Trilogy”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button