- This event has passed.
- May 13, 2021
- Event Category:
- Author Events
presenting Monkey Boy
in conversation with COLM TÓIBÍN
Harvard Book Store’s virtual event series welcomes acclaimed novelist and journalist FRANCISCO GOLDMAN—author of Say Her Name and The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle—for a discussion of his latest novel, Monkey Boy. He will be joined in conversation by award-winning writer COLM TÓIBÍN, author of The Master, Brooklyn, and House of Names.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Monkey Boy on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About Monkey Boy
Our narrator, Francisco Goldberg, an American writer, has been living in Mexico when, because of a threat provoked by his journalism, he flees to New York City, hoping to start afresh. His last relationship ended devastatingly five years before, and he may now finally be on the cusp of a new love with a young Mexican woman he meets in Brooklyn. But Francisco is soon beckoned back to his childhood home outside Boston by a high school girlfriend who witnessed his youthful humiliations, and to visit his Guatemalan mother, Yolanda, whose intermittent lucidity unearths forgotten pockets of the past. On this five-day trip, the specter of Frank’s recently deceased father, Bert, an immigrant from Ukraine—pathologically abusive, yet also at times infuriatingly endearing—as well as the dramatic Guatemalan woman who helped raise him, and the high school bullies who called him “monkey boy,” all loom.
Told in an intimate, irresistibly funny, and passionate voice, this extraordinary portrait of family and growing up “halfie,” unearths the hidden cruelties in a predominantly white, working-class Boston suburb where Francisco came of age, and explores the pressures of living between worlds all his life. Monkey Boy is a new masterpiece of fiction from one of the most important American voices in the last forty years.
Praise for Monkey Boy
“Francisco Goldman . . . Francisco Goldberg? . . . Frankie Gee!―crafter of the tenderest dirtiest love scenes!―the wisest and spookiest children!―the fathers whose monstrosity breaks our hearts with compassion for them―who else can do all this? Francisco Goldman is uncategorizable, as is this book which made me grow a second heart just to contain all its fierce tenderness. Goldman has been my literary hero from his first entrancing Long Night of White Chickens to this latest take-no-prisoners Monkey Boy. He is a true original, that rarest of writers, the kind we cannot live without.” —Susan Choi
“From the painful intimate violence in a suburban New England home, to racial cruelty among high school teenagers, to the US government’s political and military interventionism in Latin America, Goldman’s sweeping gaze runs through multiple circuits of America’s violence, showing us how deeply connected they in fact are. With the exact balance of outrage and hope, Monkey Boy takes us on an eye-opening journey, full of tenderness and horror, through the often-ignored layers of this country’s history. A powerful, necessary book.” —Valeria Luiselli
“Francisco Goldman, one of our most brilliant political writers, is also, miraculously, a Chekhov of the heart. This novel is wild, funny, and wrenching, as well as a profound act of retrieval and transformation.” —Rivka Galchen