Acclaimed author Brian Malloy brings insight, humor, and the authenticity of his own experiences as a member of the AIDS generation to this universal story of love and loss set in New York City and Minneapolis at the peak of the AIDS crisis. Both a tribute to the generation gutted by the pandemic and a powerful exploration of heartbreak, recovery, and how love can defy grief, AFTER FRANCESCO is a balm for anyone who’s ever struggled through a period of darkness and come out the other side thanks to good friends, a bit of dark humor, and a reason to fight.
"Like Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers, author-activist Malloy's newest novel is a heartrending portrayal of the realities of healing.” —Oprah Daily, Best LGBTQ Books of the Year
The year is 1988 and 28-year-old Kevin Doyle is bone-tired of attending funerals. It’s been two years since his partner Francesco died from AIDS, an epidemic ravaging New York City and going largely ignored by the government, leaving those effected to suffer in silence, feeling unjustifiable shame and guilt on top of their loss.
Some people might insist that Francesco and the other friends he’s lost to the disease are in a better place, but Kevin definitely isn’t. Half-alive, he spends his days at a mind-numbing job and nights with the ghost of Francesco, drunk and drowning in memories of a man who was too young to die.
When Kevin hits an all-time low, he realizes it’s time to move back home to Minnesota and figure out how to start living again—without Francesco. With the help of a surviving partners support group and friends both old and new, Kevin slowly starts to do just that. But an unthinkable family betrayal, and the news that his best friend is fighting for his life in New York, will force a reckoning and a defining choice.
“This novel is fresh, well-observed, often funny, sometimes angry, and always real. I can’t think of another novel about the AIDS years that captures that difficult, messy, intense age more accurately or movingly.”—Christopher Bram, author of Gods & Monsters
About the Author
Brian Malloy is the acclaimed author of The Year of Ice, Brendan Wolf, Twelve Long Months, and After Francesco, which was named a Great Group Reads selection of the Women’s National Book Association and National Reading Group Month. He is the recipient of the Bloomsday Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, and the Minnesota Book Award. As an early employee of the Minnesota AIDS Project, Malloy helped organize the state's first AIDS Walk in 1988 and has remained an engaged member of the community. He received his MFA from the University of Minnesota and currently teaches creative writing in Minneapolis. Visit him at MalloyWriter.com