“The Divine Husband presents the peculiar crossroads where love and imagination meet politics and history. . . . A great miscegenating carnival of ambition and desire.” Lee Siegel, The New York Times Book Review
The Divine Husband
978-0-8021-4221-4 • $14.00 • Paperback • Sep. 2005
From “one of America’s most significant living novelists,” a magnificent novel that is “a meditation on the slippery nature of life to art [and] . . . a work of ambition, seriousness, passion and seething life” (Claire Messud, Bookforum)
With his novels The Long Night of White Chickens and The Ordinary Seaman, Francisco Goldman has reaped immense critical acclaim and established himself as an American voice of vital importance. His third novel is a marvelous tale about the soul of the Americas and the birth of the modern spirit, of great love, tragedy, and human comedy, set in the convents, ballrooms, and coffee plantations of Central America and the docks, rooming houses, and stately Fifth Avenue addresses of New York.
The Divine Husband tells the story of María de las Nieves Moran, daughter of an Irish-American father and a Central American mother, whose brief career as a nun is terminated when a rapacious general closes the conventsin part to reach her beautiful, aristocratic best friend Paquita, hidden away from him in the cloister. María de las Nieves makes her own way in the secular world, surrounded by an unforgettable cast of characters striving for love or success in late-nineteenth-century Central America and New York: José Martí, the poet and hero of nineteenth-century Cuban independence and the first man María de las Nieves loves; Mack Chinchilla, the Yankee-Indio entrepreneur intent on winning her hand; a stuffy British diplomat setting up a political impostor plot; and Mathilde, the daughter whose birthperhaps fathered by one of these menruins María de las Nieves’s reputation and launches her on a journey to a new future in New York.
This is a joyfully imagined novel of ideas and a broad, beautifully achieved canvas populated by sassily adorable Indian girls, wandering Jewish coffee farmers, the founder of the rubber-balloon industry, and one of Latin America’s greatest and most complex men, of whom it paints an unprecedented and rich portrait. The Divine Husband is an extraordinarily inventive, poetic engagement with the meaning of literature and the writing of history. It is a rich, thrilling accomplishment that is destined to be a literary event.