After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey

80%

8 Critic Reviews

What should he say about all this to his mother, Mr. Hainey ultimately wonders? That question gives his book a little last-minute drama...
-NY Times

Synopsis

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.
 

About Michael Hainey

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Michael Hainey is the deputy editor of GQ. He was born in Chicago and now lives in Manhattan.
 
Published February 19, 2013 by Scribner. 322 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon10
Peak Rank on Mar 10 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for After Visiting Friends
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Feb 01 2013

Part elegy, part mystery and wholly unforgettable.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Louisa Thomas on Apr 11 2013

He writes in nubby prose, favoring nouns over verbs. His style can be absurdly terse...

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Feb 20 2013

What should he say about all this to his mother, Mr. Hainey ultimately wonders? That question gives his book a little last-minute drama...

Read Full Review of After Visiting Friends | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Good
on Feb 19 2013

This memoir is a poignant tale of a search for answers and the determination of a loving son to know a parent he had for a short period of time.

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
on Feb 01 2013

Hainey, the deputy editor of GQ, tells the story of his father's death in this powerful memoir.

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USA Today

Excellent
on Feb 18 2013

It's a well-reported story beautifully told. His father could only be proud.

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Time Out Chicago

Above average
on Feb 21 2013

It’s a great story, but After Visiting Friends feels more like an impressive first draft.

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Newcity Lit

Good
on Feb 18 2013

What sets this book far above some souped-up Jimmy Breslin is the hypnotic poetry of Hainey’s style—his mother’s steely reticence, a forgotten cemetery flanking O’Hare field, and a young boy’s yearning to meet the charismatic, brilliant, handsome father.

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Reader Rating for After Visiting Friends
76%

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Karen Russo 28 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

Felicia Marie Dougherty

Felicia Marie Dougherty 19 Nov 2014

Added the book to custom list 'Interesting'

Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

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