This haunting story of a son’s quest to understand the mystery of his father’s death is “searing and unforgettable…memoir writing at its best” (San Francisco Chronicle)—a “powerfully affecting” (O, The Oprah Magazine) portrait of a family and its legacy of secrets.
“Family? Secrets? Sometimes I think they are the same thing.” So writes Michael Hainey in this unforgettable story of a son’s search to discover the decades-old truth about his father’s mysterious death. Hainey was a boy of six when his father, a bright and shining star in the glamorous, hard-living world of 1960s Chicago newspapers, died under mysterious circumstances. His tragic absence left behind not only a young widow and two small sons but questions about family and truth that would obsess Michael for decades.
Years later, Michael undertakes a risky journey to uncover the true story about what happened to his father. Prodding reluctant relatives and working through a network of his father’s old colleagues, Michael begins to reconcile the father he lost with the one he comes to know. At the heart of his quest is his mother, a woman of courage and tenacity—and a steely determination to press on with her life. A universal story of love and loss and the resilience of family in the face of hardship, After Visiting Friends is the account of a son who goes searching for his father, and in the journey discovers new love and admiration for his mother.
Six-year-old Hainey woke one morning to a knock on the door of his family's house in Chicago; Hainey's uncle delivered the news that Michael's 35-year-old father, Bob, a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, had been found dead of an apparent heart attack. What happened to him? Why had he been out so late and not at home? Bob Hainey's obituary indicates that the newspaperman was visiting friends; who were these friends? In this heartfelt memoir, Hainey painfully reconstructs the few years he recalls with his father and painstakingly searches for clues that might help him understand his father's death. When he turns 35, Hainey sets off on a quest to interview as many of his father's friends as will talk to him, to review all the published details of his father's death, and to discover what his father was really like. Along the way, "instead of conjuring my father dying alone, he sees this alternate, secret narrative: him, friends, far from home, late at night...." Eventually, he discovers a disturbing secret that his mother has long kept silent, grappling to understand this new dimension of his parents' lives and resigning himself to having discovered a side of his father he never knew.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book was a great read and so honest & refreshing. Highly recommend it!
After Visiting Friends
If your looking for a page turning story that also is inspiring and emotional this is a great find. I think most people would get something out of this book.
After Visiting Friends
Well written and engrossing. I could put it down but then come back to it. I will take it with me.