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The Story Behind the Book

Francisco Goldman’s ‘The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle’

Mark Wilson for The Boston Globe

Francisco Goldman’s most recent book, “The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle,” is one he didn’t intend to write. “I wanted to work on my novel,” Goldman said. But a few things got in the way.

The fifth anniversary of his wife’s death (the subject of his previous book, “Say Her Name”) was drawing near, and Goldman said, “I was really feeling the weight of five years of grief and mourning.” After Aura died, he added, “sometimes, I was tempted to run away and leave Mexico City, go someplace that would be free of memories.” Yet, he went on, “for me, the answer was to go deeper, to really embrace this place.”


He did it by driving. “As a kind of a metaphor for what grief is,” Goldman said, “I realized that I hadn’t been behind the wheel of a car even once” since Aura’s death. Partly as an homage to his wife, who loved maps and games, partly as his own literary challenge, Goldman let his book chart him.

“So, there’s this huge map, very much like a Borgesian object,” he explained. “It’s basically a street map in book form for Mexico City’s taxi drivers. I would use this like an I Ching,” Goldman continued. “I would open it up randomly with my eyes closed, put my finger down, and wherever my finger landed, that’s what I would have to get to.”

The resulting book, he said, is “in some ways a love letter to Mexico City, which is also a love letter to Aura.”

Born in Boston, Goldman teaches one semester a year at Hartford’s Trinity College but now considers Mexico City, where he lives most of the time, his home. Location, he said, is where his writing begins.

“Place has a gravity for me,” Goldman said, “that allows me to fix myself on the page and go forward.”


Goldman will read 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Brown University’s McCormack Family Theater, 70 Brown St., Providence.

Kate Tuttle, a writer and editor, can be reached at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.