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The Divine Husband: A Novel by Francisco Goldman

Author: Francisco Goldman
Book title: The Divine Husband: A Novel
ISBN10: 0871139154
ISBN13: 978-0871139153
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; First Edition edition (August 16, 2004)
Language: English
Pages: 448
Size PDF: 1408 kb
Size FB2: 1736 kb
Size ePUB: 1606 kb
Rating: 4.2 ✯
Votes: 325
Subcategory: Genre Fiction

The Divine Husband: A Novel by Francisco Goldman

María de la Nieves Moran, daughter of an Irish-American father and Central American mother, encounters an unforgettable cast of characters in late-nineteenth-century Central America and New York--including Cuban hero José Martí, Yankee-Indio entrepreneur Mack Chinchilla, a stuffy British diplomat, and Mathilde, the daughter who changes her life. 60,000 first printing.
Reviews (7)
Morad
It is probably well written but bored me. You have to like this type of story line. It was not compelling nor would I recommend it to anyone. I had to read it for a class and could not stay awake long enough to finish it. Shakespeare was an easier read.
Gnng
This book and francisco Goldman are highly regarded. He uses magic realism to trace history intertwined with two girls lives. It does not work for me as it seems only an aaccumulation of details and pontification.
Uickabrod
Our book club was canceled because no one could finish the book. I got to chapter three and gave up.
Dikus
I already had the paperback and it was faded, small print that was hard to read for my (blast it) aging eyes. Bought the kindle version for 2 reasons: adjusting the print size and text to speech, since the paper is due this weekend.
crazy mashine
This novel has some beautiful flourishes of writing and history and lyricism. But that doesn't redeem it's impenetrable plot, which seems to meander here or there, without ever arriving at its destination. It's almost like an experiment at historical literary fiction that didn't work.
Gavikelv
Wow - what an extremely frustrating novel. On the one hand, for the first three quarters of the book, I thought it was absolutely delightful. Goldman's an excellent writer, is able to evoke the world he's writing about, and mixes both the comic and tragic elements masterfully. And then, about seventy pages before the end, it all goes off the rails.

The mystery which most of the book has been building up to is resolved with an unlikely deus ex machina. The heroine and her supporting cast start acting strange and uncharacteristicly. And the last chapters make an awkward, poorly written shift from the third person point of view to the first.

Really, as much as I liked Goldman's first two books, I can't recommend The Divine Husband at all. It should have been longer or it should have been rewritten one more time or whatever. Let's hope the next one is better...
Xarcondre
I began reading the reviews of this book when I was about a third of the way through. I thought, Uh-oh, better lower my expectations. I'm now 100 pages from the end. I have to say: I love this book. It is amazing, riveting, FUNNY. I suppose the fact that the mythical country Goldman describes reminds me so much of my home country, the Philippines, is a big point in its favor. But I've found myself wanting to read whole sections aloud to my husband, to anyone who will listen. The characters: the nun who induces sneezing fits as her little act of rebellion against the almost total lack of privacy; the famous poet Jose Marti and the women who sign up for his classes so they can swoon at his feet; the feckless rulers -- what a rich canvas he draws. I've loved every page (that I've read).
Francisco Goldman's THE DIVINE HUSBAND is an epic novel set in an unnamed Central American republic in the late 19th century. The protagonist is Maria de las Nieves, a teenaged novice nun forced out of the convent when anti-clerical revolutionaries ban the religious orders. Her subsequent life as a young woman trying to scratch out an independent living as a translator is narrated in part through the point of view of the men who are fascinated with her--until she has a child out of wedlock and refuses to name the father.

Like the previous reviewer, I was thoroughly enchanted with the first three quarters of the book. The writing is absolutely vivid and beautiful, wonderfully researched and full of quirky characters and dashes of magical realism, such a nuns who can bi-locate and be in two places at once.

However, after much build up, we finally learn the story of Maria's secret love affair with the young "Mosquito King," and this is the least convincing part of the book. Everything that happens afterward seems clumsy and anti-climactic. The author seems to lose focus at the end of the book, spending more time describing the life of Jose Marti, exiled Cuban poet, than fully developing Maria's story.

However, it still gets three and a half stars because the beginning and middle of the book are so strong.

-Mary Sharratt, author of The Vanishing Point

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