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The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  461 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Coming off the most successful book of a decorated career—Say Her NameThe Interior Circuit is Francisco Goldman’s timely and provocative journey into the heart of Mexico City.

The Interior Circuit is Goldman’s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife’s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city. Embracing the DF (Mexico
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 2nd 2014 by Grove Press
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Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When we last left Mr. Goldman, he was bereft and just grieving the loss of his young wife, Aura, in an ocean accident. Say Her Name is one of the most moving books I've ever read; I was warned not to read it on the bus because I wouldn't be able to stop crying. Goldman examines Aura's life with the eye and detail of the journalist he is, but with the heart that only comes with someone completely smitten.​
The Interior Circuit ​gives us a still recovering Goldman, but one who's ready to tackle new
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: american, mexican-lit
This is an odd book. It combines personal loss and recovery, heated political issues and curious travel tidbits all in a chronicle format.

HIs last book, “Say Her Name” was a both beautiful and difficult story of the loss of Francisco Goldman’s Mexican wife in 2007. He returns to chronicling his life five years later. He now spends most of the year living in Mexico City and teaching one semester teaching in Brooklyn, thanks in part to the success of “Say Her Name.”

The book starts off partly catch
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
I loved his general observations about Mexico City, as well as his personal story. But the book got weighted down by the many-chapter focus on the After Heavens kidnapping mystery and I lost interest.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it
this book felt all over the place. the first half, about him getting through his grieving period, is stronger than the second half which is about a group kidnapping in Mexico city. I felt the whole thing was too loosely related.
Leslie Rawls
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Multi-layered and beautifully written, _The Interior Circuit_ presents Goldman's experience riding, and sometimes being pounded by, the waves of grief after his young wife's death in a body-surfing accident. He dives into life in Mexico City, specifically the DF, in part to connect with this place that Aura treasured. And the book moves far beyond Goldman's personal grief and into the wonders of the DF and Mexico --- the beauty of the people and heritage and the horror of the narco world in most ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Goldman lives part of the year in Mexico City, and he writes about it with affection and depth. He focuses on 2012-13, a time when he continued to grapple with the rawness of his grief after the death of his wife. He decides to learn to drive stick shift and to drive in the city - Mexico City’s notorious traffic having long dissuaded him. The first part of the book intersperses his (not exactly successful) efforts with other musings about life in the city and his own grief and memories. The seco ...more
Isabel Barrios
This books is divided in two parts. The first part describes how the author deals with the his loss of his wife: he decides to learn to drive in Mexico City. If you have any idea about how this city works and its pace you'll understand what a daunting task this is. The challenge is an exercise in dérive as he decides to drive to places he chooses randomly on the famous Guía Roji city guide book. Through this process he also talks about the history, politics and culture of México City as well as ...more
Stephen King
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a thought provoking and intense book, describing in heart wrenching terms the grief of a husband who has lost his Mexican wife in a surfing accident and how we comes to terms with his grief. At the same time it is a powerful description of the violence and corruption which lies behind Mexican society and politics viewed from the relatively stage vantage point of Mexico City. Like other reviewers, I felt the pursuit of the kidnapped group in the second half of the book took far to long to ...more
Nora Rawn
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Goldman's portrait of Mexico City is a lovely one; he's somewhat less successful when it comes to explaining his own halting progress at moving on from his wife's death, in that I wish he would be more open about why it is that he's constantly pursuing 20-somethings. His portrait of DF politics also feels a bit programmatic, and the second half of the book, which moves on from the personal reflections to address corruption, isn't very well able to hold its own. ...more
Christie Bane
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great book that did as much as any book to help me even begin to understand Mexico City. The author was married to a Mexican woman who died in a tragic accident five years before he wrote the book. He spends part of his time in NYC and the rest in Mexico, and he decides to come back to Mexico to find some closure with his wife's death and also to take driving lessons while he's there, since he has never driven in Mexico City. His descriptions of the city are pure gold for anyone obses ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this even though I question what the author was doing getting into certain situations.

It touched on Mexico City and even referenced Daniel Hernandez, Down and Delirious in Mexico City!

Beautifully written non-fiction. I felt his grief throough out the book and while some may not have liked it, I appreciated him going into detail on the political climate in Mexico and details on the Heavens case, and Ayotzinapa.
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fascinating chronicle, of both Mexico City, or DF as it's usually referred to by "chilangos," natives of DF, and the life of author Francisco Goldman. He reveals a Mexico City far richer in interest than the narrow journalistic stories concerning it would have one believe. The book intertwines current events in DF with the life, both past and present, of author Goldman. Although not a native, author Goldman, the US born son of a Guatemalan mother and a Jewish father, has an abiding affection a ...more
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Just starting and really enjoying it. The books opens on Avenida Amsterdam, which I remember well. I wasn't particularly daunted by driving in Mexico City. However, I confined myself mostly to within a few square miles of where I was living. I did have more fender benders in my four years in Mexico City than I've had in 24 years in Los Angeles. And I agree with Goldman's observation that "peseros [are] hulking minibuses whose bashed and scarred exteriors attest to the Road Warrior aggression of ...more
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latin-america
Goldman provides an engaging yet disjointed look at Mexico City, a place he has truly fallen in love with. Goldman's perspective on the city is somewhat circumscribed as he tends to focus on (besides a long segment at the end on Tepito) the hip, bourgeois neighborhood of Condesa where he and his other leftist, bohemian, artist-type friends live and frequent.

Having lived in Mexico City myself I found it fun reading about all the quirks of the city that one truly appreciates after having spent som
Brian Grover
I mostly liked this book, despite the fact that it's fairly poorly conceived and edited. First off, let me say I thought this was a travelogue about Mexico City when I picked it up - which it's not. The first half of this book does talk about the city a fair amount, but it's mostly about the author mourning the five year anniversary of his wife's death in a freak accident.

It's a little pathetic - he decides to learn how to drive a car in Mexico City in the summer of 2012 as a tribute to her, the
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book seems to have two distinct narration styles. The first is Goldman's easy-going stream-of-conscious style similar to that in his novel, "The Long Night of White Chickens". He uses this style for the memoir portions of the book to recount the elation and tragedy he experienced while living in Mexico City. He also lets the reader in on the grieving/recovery process following the death of his wife as revealed in, "Say Her Name". He describes adventures of learning to drive in that massive, ...more
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Many years ago I read and quite enjoyed Goldman’s first novel, The Long Night of White Chickens. Goldman teaches in Connecticut, lives in Brooklyn but calls Mexico City home. Goldman’s wife died in a freak bodysurfing accident five years before Interior Circuit was published and this book represents his attempt to move from mourning to living again. His plan to accomplish this is to learn to drive in Mexico City (The interior circuit refers to a 42km ring road around the city’s neighborhood) Mex ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hmm... this book. I started reading it to preface my upcoming trip to Mexico City, and had hoped it would be in the same vein of travel memoirs that I am used to reading. The first half of the book was close to what I had been expecting; a man who spends his time between Mexico City and my neck of the woods, the Hartford/NYC northeast corridor, embarks on a mission to learn how to drive in the DF to somehow find closure 5 years after the death of his wife. Great! He talked about some neighborhoo ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Guatemalan writer Francisco Goldman's chronicle set in Mexico City is a tender, then chilling tale about death. First, Goldman relates how he deals with his grief over losing his young wife in a surfing accident. His therapy includes learning to drive a stick shift car on the difficult city roads and holding an annual barbecue. He also spends many hours drinking in cantinas with friends and alone. The second part of the book recounts the horrendous story of how twelve young people from the infam ...more
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
The first half of the book was excellent. It did a wonderful job of painting a picture of Mexico City - both the culture and the vibe of the city. It told a deep, personal tale of mourning the loss of a spouse, as well as introspection and learning in that process. The story spanned many, many years and was an entertaining, fun, and joyous ride.

Then, came the last... "chapter". The last chapter compromises the second half of the book. Gears shift, the writing style gets repetitive and loses dire
Subtitled "A Mexico City Chronicle," The Interior Circuit is a memoir connecting journalist Francisco Goldman's life in Mexico City, his attempts to regain his life after the death of his wife, and stories about the political and criminal landscape of the metropolis.

Goldman's personal stories weren't really very interesting.  Even his attempts to learn to drive a stick-shift in Mexico City traffic should have been amusing, but they failed to gain even a giggle out of me.  Despite mentioning the
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Every so often, as I am walking to the counter to check out the stack of books I've purposely gone to the library to pick up, I'll grab a featured book just because it looks interesting. More often than not, they turn out to be good choices, as The Interior Circuit has proved to be. In this book, Francisco Goldman does a lot: he weaves the story of grieving for his deceased wife in with descriptions of Mexico City, the culture of the city, the corruption of politicians, a fresh and daring politi ...more
Dan Mcdowell
Jul 21, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around Mexico City... Reading this just as el Chapo escaped from jail certainly made for interesting timing. I suppose it feels strange to have a place so big, so massive, so close yet barely understand its history or its present... This book was strong in it's second phase, the focus of a kidnapping at Heavens. The personal struggles in the first half of the book struggled to mean much to me, but I didn't read Say Her Name, a previous book by the author that I"m ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mexico
This is, in a way, two books. The first, about the death of the author's wife five years before and his attempts to deal with his grief. (Goldman has written a novel about his wife's death in a swimming accident.) The second is about police and government corruption both in the country and, especially, in Mexico City. Although I am moderately interested in the DR (as Mexico City is actually called) corruption, the first part of the book is of much greater interest - often humorous and very touch ...more
Joseph Raffetto
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, memoir
This is an extraordinary memoir. I particularly loved the way he weaved the loss of his wife throughout the book that made his loss even more poignant. Goldman's insight into Mexico's politics was riveting. I now understand how difficult it is for the country to get its act together when one of the parties, the Right, is so corrupt. ...more
Doriana Bisegna
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Goldman's memoir Say Her Name, I was instantly smitten by this author. The Interior Circuit is interspersed with his having to deal with his wife Aura's death and his life in Mexico City. He writes about Mexico City's politics, drug trade, corruption and crimes against the innocent.

Calvin D'souza
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book. a Love letter if you like to one of the world's great cities (and easily one of my favourite cities). A mix between great honest storytelling and narco-politics (particularly in the second half). a great read. even better if you know and appreciate the city. ...more
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it
First half is an engaging discussion of politics between DF and rest of the country. Second half focused on a DF kidnapping in a nightclub, and it seemed the like author kept putting the manuscript down and then restarting without remembering where he left off.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Some good bits but too much on the narco trade for me.
Raul Ortega
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Too light. Mentions Bolano often. And it is quite like Bolanos's wrriting about his times in Mexico. Reminds me of my days in college. Lots of name dropping. ...more
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Francisco Goldman is an American novelist, journalist, and 'maestro', at Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), the journalism school for Latin-America created by Gabriel García Márquez. Goldman is also known as Francisco Goldman Molina, "Frank" and "Paco".

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to a Guatemalan mother and Jewish-American father. His first novel, The Long Night of White Ch

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