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Publisher's Summary

From acclaimed author Brian Malloy comes a stunning novel of love, friendship, and surviving the deepest loss, set in New York City and Minneapolis in 1988, at the peak of the AIDS crisis.  

Two years after his partner, Francesco, died, 28-year-old Kevin Doyle is dusting off his one good suit jacket for yet another funeral, yet another loss in their close-knit group. They had all been young, beautiful, and living the best days of their lives, though they didn't know it. That was before New York City began to feel like a war zone, its horrors somehow invisible, and ignored by the rest of the world. Some people might insist that Francesco is in a better place now, but Kevin definitely isn't. He spends his days in a mind-numbing job and his evenings drunk in Francesco's old apartment, surrounded by memories. Francesco made everything look easy, and without him, Kevin struggles to keep going. And then one night, he stops trying. 

When Kevin awakens in a hospital, he knows 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 old and new friends, 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.   

Drawing on his experience as part of the AIDS generation, Brian Malloy brings authenticity, insight, sensitivity, and humor to a story that is distinct yet universal in its powerful exploration of heartbreak and recovery and the ways in which love can defy grief.

©2021 Brian Malloy (P)2021 Recorded Books

What listeners say about After Francesco

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I resist superlatives

This is a remarkable piece of literature. It tries and fails to be too many things at once, but it manages to capture truths about a difficult era without being histrionic. There is a simplicity to it; there is a great humanity and a level of authenticity while steering away from overt didacticism. In my own time, I lived through the events against which the narrative is set and I was not looking forward to sludging through them again thus I approached it with a resolute hesitation. Sure enough, the central character with whom I was to travel is grieving and has been for two years. It was hard to bear his grief and I didn't like him. He was vain and self-absorbed and he only kept me engaged in the early chapters by the wise choice of the reader to perform against the grief whenever possible. Michael Crouch kept me listening when I would likely not have had the perseverance to keep reading. My least favorite aspect: I had difficulty suspending disbelief for the single-layer villainess who is blessedly minor in her impact on the story. I know there are people who are rotten through and through, they exist in the world. I know a story cannot have fluidity if every character is fully fleshed, but there was not a single redeeming attribute to this female character. It is the title character who has died of AIDS at the outset who held me tightly and compelled me to remain with his widower and care about him to the end. Surely this flawed, artistic, tragic young man -- too soon gone -- loved this shallow "gym-rat" for something beyond his carefully pumped twin pectoral major muscles and ultimately this proves to be true. He's no angel in the end, but he is fallible, human, vulnerable, and deserving of the love he finds. And even with that, don't mistake the work for a romance, and -- thankfully -- it is not one of those fuck books with a thin plot holding together prurient descriptions of overt sexuality. I was satisfied with it, in the end, this story and the performance of it, and I suspect it will become more important as the test of time and distance from the time of pain allows it to take its place as a deeply human testament to a heartless time for the gay human being in U.S. history. I hope this paragraph, another view of the work will convince you to listen to this reading of the work.

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Beautiful

What an amazing story this was. Expertly read and paced. It reminds you life is so fragile and amazing and heartbreaking and breathtaking all at the same time. I was so young when AIDS was ravaging the world and we were faulted by the rest of the world. I wouldn't even meet an HIV positive person until my early 20's. This book reminds me how lucky I was... how much was lost and that you have to fight for yourself because so many times you might be alone. I cried a lot on this book.. but it was a good cry. One that we all need every now and again, to mourn the time when we almost lost everything. But we are still here and stronger than ever!!!!!

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More than a footnote

This story brings the shame of how my generation responded to AIDS into sharp, personal focus. Brian’s storytelling and Michael’s narration bring to life for you authentic, realistic heroes and heroines who fought violence and indifference… who fought a disease that was ignored… a disease who’s victims were vilified. As parallels are drawn between pandemics - this novel demonstrates how different the response to suffering can be - and makes the case that those who were lost to AIDS deserve so much more than a footnote.

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