A Finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction
"Painful, refractive, beautiful . . . Goldman is beloved."—New York Review of Books
In Monkey Boy, Francisco Goldman’s “brilliantly constructed auto-fiction” (NPR), we meet Francisco Goldberg, a middle-aged writer grappling with the challenges of family and love, legacies of violence and war, and growing up as the son of immigrants—a Guatemalan Catholic mother and a Russian Jewish father—in a predominantly white, working-class Boston suburb. Told in an irresistibly funny, tender and passionate voice, this extraordinary portrait of family explores the pressures of living between worlds.
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.