Like Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers, author-activist Malloy’s newest novel is a heartrending portrayal of the realities of healing.” – Oprah Mag, Best LGBTQ Books of 2021Acclaimed 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. Published on the 40th anniversary of the disease’s first reported cases, After Francesco is both a tribute to a generation lost to the pandemic as well as a powerful exploration of heartbreak, recovery and how love can defy grief.
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 a government that expects those affected to suffer in silence, thrusting 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 now, but Kevin definitely isn’t. Half-alive, he spends his days in a mind-numbing job and nights with the ghost of Francesco, drunk and full of memories of the life 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 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.