A decade in the writing, the haunting story of a sonâ€™s quest to understand the mystery of his fatherâ€™s deathâ€”a universal memoir about the secrets families keep and the role they play in making us who we are.Michael Hainey had just turned six when his uncle knocked on his familyâ€™s back door one morning with the tragic news: Bob Hainey, Michaelâ€™s father, was found alone near his car on Chicagoâ€™s North Side, dead, of an apparent heart attack. Thirty-five years old, a young assistant copy desk chief at the Chicago Sun-Times, Bob was a bright and shining star in the competitive, hard-living world of newspapers, one that involved booze-soaked nights that bled into dawn. And then suddenly he was gone, leaving behind a young widow, two sons, a fractured familyâ€”and questions surrounding the mysterious nature of his death that would obsess Michael throughout adolescence and long into adulthood. Finally, roughly his fatherâ€™s age when he died, and a seasoned reporter himself, Michael set out to learn what happened that night. Died â€śafter visiting friends,â€ť the obituaries said. But the details beyond that were inconsistent. What friends? Where? At the heart of his quest is Michaelâ€™s all-too-silent, opaque mother, a woman of great courage and tenacityâ€”and a steely determination not to look back. Prodding and cajoling his relatives, and working through a network of his fatherâ€™s buddies who abide by an honor code of silence and secrecy, Michael sees beyond the long-held myths and ultimately reconciles the father heâ€™d imagined with the one he comes to knowâ€”and in the journey discovers new truths about his mother. A stirring portrait of a family and its legacy of secrets, After Visiting Friends is the story of a son who goes in search of the truth and finds not only his father, but a rare window into a world of men and newspapers and fierce loyalties that no longer exists.
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