Hot Best Seller

After Francesco

Availability: Ready to download

An Apple Books Best of the Month Selection Return to New York City and Minneapolis in 1988, at the peak of the AIDS crisis, in this stunning novel of relationships and surviving heartbreaking loss. Published on the 40th anniversary of the disease's first reported cases, this story is both a tribute to a generation lost to the pandemic as well as a powerful exploration of he An Apple Books Best of the Month Selection Return to New York City and Minneapolis in 1988, at the peak of the AIDS crisis, in this stunning novel of relationships and surviving heartbreaking loss. Published on the 40th anniversary of the disease's first reported cases, this story 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. Two years after his partner, Francesco, died, twenty-eight-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.


Compare

An Apple Books Best of the Month Selection Return to New York City and Minneapolis in 1988, at the peak of the AIDS crisis, in this stunning novel of relationships and surviving heartbreaking loss. Published on the 40th anniversary of the disease's first reported cases, this story is both a tribute to a generation lost to the pandemic as well as a powerful exploration of he An Apple Books Best of the Month Selection Return to New York City and Minneapolis in 1988, at the peak of the AIDS crisis, in this stunning novel of relationships and surviving heartbreaking loss. Published on the 40th anniversary of the disease's first reported cases, this story 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. Two years after his partner, Francesco, died, twenty-eight-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.

30 review for After Francesco

  1. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Wow, Brian Malloy's After Francesco is just an absolutely beautiful, moving, hopeful book. It’s 1988. The gay community in the U.S. has been rocked by AIDS. For 28-year-old Kevin and many others, life is an endless journey of watching friends waste away and die, and attending far too many funerals. Kevin hasn't stopped mourning his partner, Francesco, in the two years since he died. He still lives in their NYC apartment. Everyone tells him he should try and move on, but he can’t seem to find t Wow, Brian Malloy's After Francesco is just an absolutely beautiful, moving, hopeful book. It’s 1988. The gay community in the U.S. has been rocked by AIDS. For 28-year-old Kevin and many others, life is an endless journey of watching friends waste away and die, and attending far too many funerals. Kevin hasn't stopped mourning his partner, Francesco, in the two years since he died. He still lives in their NYC apartment. Everyone tells him he should try and move on, but he can’t seem to find the motivation to do so, preferring to numb the pain with alcohol. When he hits rock bottom, at the urging of friends and family, he returns home to Minneapolis to live with his aunt Nora. He tries to move forward in fits and starts, and with the help of a support group for people whose partners have died, he feels like he’s making some progress. But he is further tested by news that his best friend is nearing the end of his struggle with AIDS, so he heads back to NYC. This is a gorgeously written, emotional book about grief, fear, feeling like no one understands how you feel and what you’re going through, and the guilt of surviving that many felt (and still do). How can you get on with your life when your partner and your friends didn’t have that chance? There is certainly sadness in After Francesco but I never found it overwhelming. Malloy captured the feel and vibe of the late 1980s so well. I began coming to terms with my sexuality then, and I remember the fears and uncertainty surrounding dating and sex because no one was 100 percent sure how you could get AIDS. For me, this book stands with The Great Believers and Christodora , two other terrific books which chronicled that time period. (You should totally read those if you haven't.) Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  2. 5 out of 5

    LenaRibka

    What an emotional ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK GOD FOR Brian Malloy!!! At its heart, this book is about loss, grief and healing in the midst of the AIDS crisis. So though it is a very personal story, it is also without any doubt an important historical book that gives you insight into what the gay community went through at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. For me it is always difficult to read about that time, especially now, when we see how epidemic could be deal with. Beautifully written, deeply moving What an emotional ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK GOD FOR Brian Malloy!!! At its heart, this book is about loss, grief and healing in the midst of the AIDS crisis. So though it is a very personal story, it is also without any doubt an important historical book that gives you insight into what the gay community went through at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. For me it is always difficult to read about that time, especially now, when we see how epidemic could be deal with. Beautifully written, deeply moving, heart rendering and FULL OF HOPE. P.S. It is a story of Kevin Doyle from The Year of Ice

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Brian Malloy's After Francesco is an oddly sex-negative recounting of the darkest days of the AIDS crisis. Kevin is in his late twenties when his longterm, live-in partner, Frankie, dies from AIDS-related complications. Bereft and alone two years after Frankie's death, Kevin navigates a world he hates finding solace only at the gym and at the bottom of a fifth of vodka. Concerned for him, his friends send him back to his aunt in Minneapolis until later in the year he can return, sober, and join A Brian Malloy's After Francesco is an oddly sex-negative recounting of the darkest days of the AIDS crisis. Kevin is in his late twenties when his longterm, live-in partner, Frankie, dies from AIDS-related complications. Bereft and alone two years after Frankie's death, Kevin navigates a world he hates finding solace only at the gym and at the bottom of a fifth of vodka. Concerned for him, his friends send him back to his aunt in Minneapolis until later in the year he can return, sober, and join ACT UP. A common story arc, After Francesco tells the story of a man living in despair and ignorance who finds himself through consciousness raising and friendship. But Malloy's story is too jam packed with scene changes that make little sense - from New York to Minnesota and back to New York all so quickly - that the clutter leaves all the details too undeveloped. Reading the book also felt suspiciously like reading a sanitized gay novel of the 80s and 90s - all of the queer plot but none of the queer sex - which became clearer as Malloy made several sex-negative comments, shaming open relationships and non-monogamy. A queer AIDS book that finds itself afraid of sex ends up being exactly what our liberated forefathers were afraid of.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Levi Huxton

    Writing about AIDS in the 1980s is perhaps more important now than ever, as survivors grow older, younger queer folk take freedoms for granted and the forces of revisionism smooth over our history. Reading about AIDS in the 1980s is perhaps more resonant now than ever, as we contrast that initial response – denial that led to genocide - with the current mobilisation by governments, the media and the medical profession against the more indiscriminate killer that is Covid-19. Brian Malloy’s After Writing about AIDS in the 1980s is perhaps more important now than ever, as survivors grow older, younger queer folk take freedoms for granted and the forces of revisionism smooth over our history. Reading about AIDS in the 1980s is perhaps more resonant now than ever, as we contrast that initial response – denial that led to genocide - with the current mobilisation by governments, the media and the medical profession against the more indiscriminate killer that is Covid-19. Brian Malloy’s After Francesco takes us back to 1988 through the words of Kevin, who’s trying to makes sense of life in the wake of his lover's death from AIDS. Having moved to NY from Minneapolis to come out, get laid and fall in love, Kevin’s purpose is subsequently demolished by Francesco’s demise. How do you pick up the pieces of your own life, let alone find love again, when everything – friendship, love, sex – is associated with death? After Francesco is at its most effective when it tackles the crisis head on, chronicling the war fought by activists against the neglect that cost the lives of so many, embedding real Act Up demonstrations into the narrative, such as the march on the FDA to demand the availability of experimental drugs. It’s at its best when it reveals the countless ways the disease was amplified by an arsenal of man-wielded weapons: shame, bigotry, hatred, neglect and greed. It’s most affecting when it describes the ravages of AIDS on one’s body, one’s dignity, one’s hard-won but still fragile sense of pride. It’s particularly moving when it invokes the social innovations victims, friends and lovers brought forward in self-defence: support networks, surrogate families, allyship and new forms of confrontational activism. New York is vibrantly described as a land of opportunity for thousands of gay kids fleeing small towns to find themselves; a playground that is also a minefield patrolled by gay bashers, violent cops and an invisible but deadly virus; a battleground for titanic forces: Trump’s greed, Koch’s hypocrisy and Reagan’s bigotry pitted against an uprising of the marginalised. Having lived through this hell, Malloy takes his responsibility seriously. This novel feels written for those born later, an education disguised as a new adult romance – albeit a very good one. I got the sense accessibility was just as important as authenticity. How do you hook young readers on a bleak period drama about sickness, grief and death? Using his considerable gifts as a writer – dialogue, humour, and characterisation, Malloy negotiates tonal shifts with dexterity, compromising very little to bring as many as he can on the journey. When his characters reminisce about the good old days, when getting a cold didn’t mean picking out your pallbearers, Malloy seems to be encouraging younger readers not to take their own contemporary happiness for granted. Forty years after the first cases were identified, there are still lessons to be learned. As more and more queer writers of that era fall out of print, it’s books like Malloy’s that remind us of how far we’ve come, and how vigilant we must remain.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aubrie Wancata

    I have read a number of novels set against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis in the gay community during the 1980s.  Many of them focus on what it was like to care for dying loved ones, but After Francesco by Brian Malloy has a different focus: what it was like to live on while those around you perished.  The novel begins two years after Kevin Doyle loses Frankie, the love of his life. Kevin hasn’t moved on, nor does he want to.  He talks to Frankie as if he were still there, and relives old memori I have read a number of novels set against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis in the gay community during the 1980s.  Many of them focus on what it was like to care for dying loved ones, but After Francesco by Brian Malloy has a different focus: what it was like to live on while those around you perished.  The novel begins two years after Kevin Doyle loses Frankie, the love of his life. Kevin hasn’t moved on, nor does he want to.  He talks to Frankie as if he were still there, and relives old memories as he drinks himself deeper into depression. His friends know that Kevin is slowly killing himself, and in a last-ditch effort to help him pull his life together, they put him on a plane bound for his hometown in the Midwest.    The novel reads more like a memoir, with Kevin driving the narrative, flipping between his present day and scenes from his relationship with Frankie.  The story is simple, but the characters are richly drawn and complex.  Kevin’s grief is palpable and complicated, like grief always is.  It is angry, it is sad, it is frustrated, it is thankful, and it is filled with love that has nowhere to go.  Relatable, for anyone who has lost a person they love.  In the United States, by 1995, one in nine gay men had been diagnosed with AIDS, one in 15 had died, and AIDS had decimated 10% of the 1.6 million gay men aged 25-44. (The AIDS Epidemic’s Lasting Impact on Gay Men, The British Academy Blog Feb. 19, 2018).  This book helps readers understand, in some small way, the reality behind those numbers.  It offers a glimpse of what it felt like to live in a time where there were no treatments, no government responses, and where rampant discrimination meant that not only were gay men dying, but they also were losing their jobs, their homes, and their livelihoods all at the same time.  Given the gravity of the subject matter, the most surprising part of this novel is its humor—humor tinged in bitter sadness.  The book is a study in the kind of humor that helps us cope in the absolute worst of circumstances.  Some of the most humorous lines were so real that in my head I could hear my best friends saying them.  I expected to cry when reading this one (and I did) but I hadn’t expected to laugh.  There were probably as many chuckles as there were tears.  As the 40th anniversary of the first reported AIDS cases approaches, this is an important read that is absolutely worth your time.  It would be a great book club selection, and the copy that I have even contains a list of questions for discussion.  ***I received an Advanced Reader Edition of this book from the publisher.  It goes on sale May 25, 2021.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Want a deeply moving, at times painful, and ultimately hopeful story about a man struggling with the AIDS death of his partner. This can be rather difficult at times to read--the pain and trauma is so acute--but it is definitely worth it. The horror of AIDS--as well as the stigma--is perfectly captured. Librarians/booksellers: There aren't many historical fiction stories about AIDS written by an author who experienced that era firsthand. Strongly recommended. Many thanks to Kensingto Read if you: Want a deeply moving, at times painful, and ultimately hopeful story about a man struggling with the AIDS death of his partner. This can be rather difficult at times to read--the pain and trauma is so acute--but it is definitely worth it. The horror of AIDS--as well as the stigma--is perfectly captured. Librarians/booksellers: There aren't many historical fiction stories about AIDS written by an author who experienced that era firsthand. Strongly recommended. Many thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Addie BookCrazyBlogger

    It’s 1989, Regan rules the White House and the AIDS epidemic is in full bloom, with gay men dying in epidemic numbers. Kevin Doyle is 28 years old and grieving the loss of his partner Francesco who died from AIDS two years ago, along with grieving the losses of most of their friends who are either dead or dying. Kevin hates his job working at a non-profit for Republican CEO’s, lives in Alphabet City pre-gentrification and still talks to Frankie, despite pleading from his best friend Laurie to be It’s 1989, Regan rules the White House and the AIDS epidemic is in full bloom, with gay men dying in epidemic numbers. Kevin Doyle is 28 years old and grieving the loss of his partner Francesco who died from AIDS two years ago, along with grieving the losses of most of their friends who are either dead or dying. Kevin hates his job working at a non-profit for Republican CEO’s, lives in Alphabet City pre-gentrification and still talks to Frankie, despite pleading from his best friend Laurie to begin to move on. In addition to drowning in his grief, Kevin is becoming an alcoholic and is dead broke, unable to afford New York much longer. So he’s shipped off to Minneapolis, his hometown, to recuperate and as he comes back to life, he has to decide how he wants to live his life post Francesco. My generation (the straight ones at least, as I can’t speak for the LGTBQ community) knows nothing about AIDS. To us, it’s an epidemic in Africa amongst women and children, which is all we’ve been taught. At least, that’s what my health teachers said in my private middle school and my public high school. (Thank you Missouri education.) To keep things short and simple, the AIDS epidemic was genocide against “undesirables,” which included addicts and prostitutes as well as gay men and it was sanctified by the Regan administration. This book is a slap in the face for a straight woman living in Missouri in 2021. I knew things were bad but I had no idea how bad it was. This is a must read for anyone looking to educate themselves on gay history. A generation was wiped out because people didn’t care, as long as it didn’t affect them. This was an intense book, especially when it comes to the grieving process but I genuinely think that’s what made this book so powerful. I’m going to be savoring and thinking about this book for a long time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I have NO idea why this book isn’t getting more buzz, but it should be one that everybody puts on their TBR immediately. Giving off vibes similar to The Great Believers, After Francesco is set in the height of the AIDS crisis. What makes this story even more authentic is that the author went through this time period himself, bringing his personal experience to the table; and let me tell you it was a heartbreaker. Despite its heavy subject material, I was able to fly through this book. I loved Kevi I have NO idea why this book isn’t getting more buzz, but it should be one that everybody puts on their TBR immediately. Giving off vibes similar to The Great Believers, After Francesco is set in the height of the AIDS crisis. What makes this story even more authentic is that the author went through this time period himself, bringing his personal experience to the table; and let me tell you it was a heartbreaker. Despite its heavy subject material, I was able to fly through this book. I loved Kevin so much and had to know how he was going to carry on without the greatest love of his life. It’s a novel that focuses on what gay men went through historically and personally during this time, but it’s also a story of hope and friendship. It will simultaneously destroy your soul and hug it; you simply don’t know which from chapter to chapter. It’s an excellent way to kick off Pride, and I encourage all of you to give it a read. VERDICT: 4 STARS ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amanda (THE CAFFEINATED READER)

    “You walk slowly, my darling boy, you keep your own pace. And those that tell you to move past your grief just don’t understand your journey”. -Aunt Nora “Be curious first, judgmental a distant second.”- Francesco I loved this book so much. It’s a study in grief and loss. Immense loss. It’s 1988 and Kevin Doyle is a gay man living in NYC in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. He’s lost so many friends, but when he loses the love of his life, Francesco (Frankie) his life goes off the rails. Nothing ma “You walk slowly, my darling boy, you keep your own pace. And those that tell you to move past your grief just don’t understand your journey”. -Aunt Nora “Be curious first, judgmental a distant second.”- Francesco I loved this book so much. It’s a study in grief and loss. Immense loss. It’s 1988 and Kevin Doyle is a gay man living in NYC in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. He’s lost so many friends, but when he loses the love of his life, Francesco (Frankie) his life goes off the rails. Nothing matters anymore, he drinks himself into oblivion, gets fired from his job, and his friends are worried about him. After he nearly dies from alcohol poisoning, his friends know they need to help him make a change. So off he goes to Aunt Nora’s house in small town Minnesota where the memories of being in the closet surround him. I loved Aunt Nora. For 1988, and a Catholic, she loves and accepts her nephew in a way that would have been rare and made me cry a few times. I also love that his macho Minnesota best friend Tommy who supports and loves him. I feel like that would have been rare as well. This book is beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting, it’s a little bit of everything. Can’t wait to read Brian Malloy’s other book about Kevin “The Year of Ice” based on his early years before NYC.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dru

    An incredible story of a gay man who survived losing his partner to AIDS during the beginning of pandemic while the country was turning their back to them due to homophobia. Kevin takes you along with him as he grieves for his lost partner, Francesco, and several other friends. He gives us an insight of what he goes through during this heart-breaking time while fearing for his life, both medically and socially (will the police hurt him? Will that person take offense to him being gay and act on i An incredible story of a gay man who survived losing his partner to AIDS during the beginning of pandemic while the country was turning their back to them due to homophobia. Kevin takes you along with him as he grieves for his lost partner, Francesco, and several other friends. He gives us an insight of what he goes through during this heart-breaking time while fearing for his life, both medically and socially (will the police hurt him? Will that person take offense to him being gay and act on it?). As you read on, Kevin becomes your friend and you cheer him on and mourn with him during his ups and downs. I’ve already recommended this book to several friends.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brianne

    Rating: 4.5/5 rounded up to 5/5 stars Okay, so I’m kind of in love with this book. Like, it’s in my top 10 favorite LGBTQ+ books of all time now. Highlights: - lots of gay characters - really fun writing style - hilarious at times - amazing main character (he is such a lovable a**hole) - found family - important history of gay America I honestly think think this is something that a lot of people should read. Not just because it’s good, but because of the story and the message it tells. It’s such a beau Rating: 4.5/5 rounded up to 5/5 stars Okay, so I’m kind of in love with this book. Like, it’s in my top 10 favorite LGBTQ+ books of all time now. Highlights: - lots of gay characters - really fun writing style - hilarious at times - amazing main character (he is such a lovable a**hole) - found family - important history of gay America I honestly think think this is something that a lot of people should read. Not just because it’s good, but because of the story and the message it tells. It’s such a beautiful account of what the gay community went through during the first years of the AIDS epidemic in America. When I first started reading it, I was worried it would be TOO sad, but I was so wrong. Yes there were sad moments and moments that made me tear up, but it was so much more! It was real and unique and funny. It was surprisingly funny! I actually laughed out loud multiple times. And I loved the MC so much! Anyway, the editor-in-chief describes this book as “a novel about love and loss. It’s also a novel about mistakes. About friendship. About family. And it’s a novel about survival.” I can’t think of a better way to say it. It’s just so much more amazing than I ever expected. This book was beautiful and heartbreaking and more people NEED to read this. (TW: AIDS, graphic descriptions of illness/caretaking, depression, grief, alcoholism, homophobia, police brutality, su*cide)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kristy Hurst

    I just finished reading this. When I stumbled across it on a giveaway on Goodreads, I knew I had to read it. I was a young kid when the AIDS pandemic began and have lived in the Midwest most of my life. It wasn't even talked about where I lived. My first experience was working with a wonderful gay man as a teenager who was positive. I've met many more gay men and women over the years and had/have friendships with several. I also have a close family member (heterosexual) who died from it. #afterf I just finished reading this. When I stumbled across it on a giveaway on Goodreads, I knew I had to read it. I was a young kid when the AIDS pandemic began and have lived in the Midwest most of my life. It wasn't even talked about where I lived. My first experience was working with a wonderful gay man as a teenager who was positive. I've met many more gay men and women over the years and had/have friendships with several. I also have a close family member (heterosexual) who died from it. #afterfrancesco may be a work of fiction, but it is illuminating for anyone removed from the situation and the time. Brian Malloy brings the time, the relationships, lives lost, battles and deaths alive. If it doesn't, open your eyes, touch your heart, make you laugh and make you cry, then I don't know what to say. It's an easy read. We cannot let this time be forgotten. Read the author's note too. I will be checking out Brian's other literary works. Huge thank you to Kensington Publishing for the book, which I won from one of their Goodreads giveaways!! #kensingtonpublishing

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Ballard

    4.5 / 5 Brian Malloy writes with such honesty that I felt that Kevin’s story of grief and pain was a true story. Sadly, there are far too many real-life stories similar to Kevin’s because of the AIDs epidemic. Kevin Doyle lost his partner, Francesco, two years ago to AIDs. Now here in New York City in 1988, Kevin is trying to live life without Francesco. He is tired of going to friends’ funerals, tired of the government ignoring this epidemic, and tired of living in shame - Kevin is just tired of 4.5 / 5 Brian Malloy writes with such honesty that I felt that Kevin’s story of grief and pain was a true story. Sadly, there are far too many real-life stories similar to Kevin’s because of the AIDs epidemic. Kevin Doyle lost his partner, Francesco, two years ago to AIDs. Now here in New York City in 1988, Kevin is trying to live life without Francesco. He is tired of going to friends’ funerals, tired of the government ignoring this epidemic, and tired of living in shame - Kevin is just tired of living without Francesco. So he drinks to numb himself. When his friends step in to try to help, Kevin decides to move back to his hometown of Minneapolis to regroup. Brian Malloy has written a raw, hard look at the reality of the AIDs epidemic. In Kevin’s story, we are up close and personal with the grief and pain that so many gay men had to endure - many times in secret. And as Malloy points out in his Author’s Notes, the AIDs epidemic is far from over. Thank you to [partner] @bibliolifestyle and @kensingtonbooks for these #gifted copies.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cam

    This book was so many things. It was heartbreaking, and it brought back so many horrific memories of what these young men went through the devastation of the disease, the suffering, not having even the comfort of a human touch due to fear in their last moments. But this book is also about hope and healing, and friendship and it has many light hearted moments as well. Aunt Nora, the Irish Catholic Aunt, was such a fantastic character, and so many other friends that try to help Kevin find his way b This book was so many things. It was heartbreaking, and it brought back so many horrific memories of what these young men went through the devastation of the disease, the suffering, not having even the comfort of a human touch due to fear in their last moments. But this book is also about hope and healing, and friendship and it has many light hearted moments as well. Aunt Nora, the Irish Catholic Aunt, was such a fantastic character, and so many other friends that try to help Kevin find his way back. This truly is a must read, and I highly recommend it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    I couldn't put this book down. It's honest, sad, tragic and ultimately beautiful. The story takes place in the late 1980's and the main character is dealing with the death of his partner, Francesco from AIDS. Kevin is stunned, spinning his wheels and unable to move on. After almost killing himself by alcohol-poisoning twice and with a lot of help and support of his family and friends, he eventually starts to live again. A wonderful book. Pick it up or listen to it on audio book (like I did). I couldn't put this book down. It's honest, sad, tragic and ultimately beautiful. The story takes place in the late 1980's and the main character is dealing with the death of his partner, Francesco from AIDS. Kevin is stunned, spinning his wheels and unable to move on. After almost killing himself by alcohol-poisoning twice and with a lot of help and support of his family and friends, he eventually starts to live again. A wonderful book. Pick it up or listen to it on audio book (like I did).

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    “Be curious first, judgmental a distant second.” That’s what I’d say to anyone considering reading this excellent novel. It’s a novel that deals with grief and profound loss. It’s equal parts hilarious, deeply felt, and hopeful. This is what life is like. It doesn’t sugar coat anything, but retains a sense of humor throughout. Please read this book! (And to the reviewer who complained this book was sex-negative, perhaps consider that all characters in a work of FICTION are not mouthpieces for an “Be curious first, judgmental a distant second.” That’s what I’d say to anyone considering reading this excellent novel. It’s a novel that deals with grief and profound loss. It’s equal parts hilarious, deeply felt, and hopeful. This is what life is like. It doesn’t sugar coat anything, but retains a sense of humor throughout. Please read this book! (And to the reviewer who complained this book was sex-negative, perhaps consider that all characters in a work of FICTION are not mouthpieces for an author’s personal opinions.)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Esan

    Thank you GoodReads Giveaways for the opportunity to read After Francesco. I absolutely loved this book. It was a hard read for me. Several times, I had to put this book down because I was either so indignant about the negative treatment of people with AIDS or I was crying for the Kevin and his utter devastation of life without Francesco. The characters were strong, caring people that made After Francesco shine. I especially loved quiet, compassionate Toshiro. I did not quite understand the dynam Thank you GoodReads Giveaways for the opportunity to read After Francesco. I absolutely loved this book. It was a hard read for me. Several times, I had to put this book down because I was either so indignant about the negative treatment of people with AIDS or I was crying for the Kevin and his utter devastation of life without Francesco. The characters were strong, caring people that made After Francesco shine. I especially loved quiet, compassionate Toshiro. I did not quite understand the dynamics between Kevin and him until the unexpected ending. With the ending, the inhale/exhale repetition and interplay between Kevin and the rest of the characters made complete sense. Brian Mallory has written After Francesco with humor and honesty. This book is one that I will think about for a long time and will reccomend to my friends.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I loved this book! I do not have one negative thing to say about it. I had never heard of this author but I am now going to seek out his other books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS... I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway and was asked to write a review about what I thought. I must preface this review by saying this is my very first one and I really don't know what I am doing but this is honestly my opinion without fancy words. When I first received this book I wasn't sure how I felt about the topic. I was not sure I wanted to read about something as depressing as AIDS. Man am I glad I read it. 'After Francesco' is probably one of the b THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS... I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway and was asked to write a review about what I thought. I must preface this review by saying this is my very first one and I really don't know what I am doing but this is honestly my opinion without fancy words. When I first received this book I wasn't sure how I felt about the topic. I was not sure I wanted to read about something as depressing as AIDS. Man am I glad I read it. 'After Francesco' is probably one of the best reads I have come across this year. The story is based in Minneapolis and New York in 1988 during the AIDS crisis and is about Kevin a gay man in his twenties that has lost his partner to AIDS and has just now lost one of his best friends. Kevin has not been able to cope with losing Francisco over two years ago but when dead Eddie passes Kevin has a breakdown and almost dies. The rest of the story is about how Kevin and all of those around him cope with a world that is taking all they love away from them. The gay community is greatly represented in this book and is easy to see and feel what they went through during this awful time. The author Brian Mallory is very descriptive throughout the story, which most times I'm like 'Ok just get on with it, I don't care'. But not with this one. The descriptions make it possible for the reader to put themselves in the room when Kevin is changing live Eddie's diaper or when Kevin is talking to the MD about getting tested, and you are able to feel all the emotions the characters have. Every emotion can be felt throughout the book. Anger at the way people treat the man with AIDS, the way the families of the deceased react to their partner, as if the partner was nothing more than a piece of dirt on their shoe. Sadness at the thoughts from Kevin about leaving Francesco alone at the cemetery, 'He never would have done that to me. He never would have left me alone'. Happiness when Kevin finally starts to move on with his life. There is so much to say about this book that I could go on forever but I will stop and just say 'Read it!!!' #AfterFrancesco

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Written with humor at times this book is shocking and upsetting yet deeply moving. It is set in New York and Minneapolis during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Kevin has been grieving the loss of his partner for two years. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in alcohol and reliving the memory of Francesco. After hitting an all-time low he tries to turn his life around “After Francesco”. The author boldly brings to light the struggles of gay men, those with AIDS, and the those who mourn the Written with humor at times this book is shocking and upsetting yet deeply moving. It is set in New York and Minneapolis during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Kevin has been grieving the loss of his partner for two years. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in alcohol and reliving the memory of Francesco. After hitting an all-time low he tries to turn his life around “After Francesco”. The author boldly brings to light the struggles of gay men, those with AIDS, and the those who mourn the loss of their loved one. This story is powerful, graphic and could be uncomfortable for some readers. But for me it brought insight into a generation lost to a disease that was ignored and misunderstood. This story made me laugh, made me cry. It is one of those books that will stick with me for a very long time!

  21. 4 out of 5

    William Miles

    Stunning and important novel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I won this book in a goodreads giveaway and in that spirit I am writing this review. This book is one that I, most likely, would not have read if I hadn't won it from goodreads. I'm so grateful I did, otherwise I would have missed out on this moving novel. Brian Malloy has written an emotional story about the AIDS crisis that immediately pulled me into his character's lives and kept me there until the very end. I won this book in a goodreads giveaway and in that spirit I am writing this review. This book is one that I, most likely, would not have read if I hadn't won it from goodreads. I'm so grateful I did, otherwise I would have missed out on this moving novel. Brian Malloy has written an emotional story about the AIDS crisis that immediately pulled me into his character's lives and kept me there until the very end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Moving, sad: resonated strongly with me😪 I loved Brian Malloy's book! I recall those days in the 80's when AIDS first got grudging recognition as the deaths piled up. This book brought memories back, of colleagues frantically hiding their orientation and some losing their battle against the disease. So, Malloy's story about Kevin trying to cope with the death of his partner and friends strongly resonated with me. It's a sad tale but how could it not be and remain true to the subject? The story has Moving, sad: resonated strongly with me😪 I loved Brian Malloy's book! I recall those days in the 80's when AIDS first got grudging recognition as the deaths piled up. This book brought memories back, of colleagues frantically hiding their orientation and some losing their battle against the disease. So, Malloy's story about Kevin trying to cope with the death of his partner and friends strongly resonated with me. It's a sad tale but how could it not be and remain true to the subject? The story has lots of hardship and Kevin's gallows humor but there are moments of love, hope and friendship as well. Reading After Francesco was an emotional experience and well worth the time. This era should not be forgotten. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest opinion.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I won an advanced copy of “After Francesco” from a Goodreads giveaway! I loved this book. It was so amazingly heartbreaking, and I was so sad watching Kevin struggle with his grief over the loss of his partner, Francesco. I have always felt strongly that the gay community has been excessively marginalized, and have been interested in the history of the gay community (Stonewall was a RIOT) for years. I also lost my father in the early 90’s to AIDS, 26 years ago yesterday, though his was due to in I won an advanced copy of “After Francesco” from a Goodreads giveaway! I loved this book. It was so amazingly heartbreaking, and I was so sad watching Kevin struggle with his grief over the loss of his partner, Francesco. I have always felt strongly that the gay community has been excessively marginalized, and have been interested in the history of the gay community (Stonewall was a RIOT) for years. I also lost my father in the early 90’s to AIDS, 26 years ago yesterday, though his was due to intravenous drug use. That all being said, this book hit so many of my heart’s soft spots, and it was wonderful. If you need a good read that will definitely make you cry, and if you enjoy realistic, and fulfilling, character development, read this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    After Francesco I’m honored and grateful for the chance to read an advance copy of After Francesco by Minneapolis author Brian Malloy. It’s a beautiful book and timely. It brought back memories of protest in D.C. and here at home in Minneapolis. There’s a special kind of courage that triumphs over internalized as well as external homophobia. Thank goodness for DESIRE that can triumph over just about anything! Of course, I don’t know what it’s like to inhabit that world, NEw York City in the eight After Francesco I’m honored and grateful for the chance to read an advance copy of After Francesco by Minneapolis author Brian Malloy. It’s a beautiful book and timely. It brought back memories of protest in D.C. and here at home in Minneapolis. There’s a special kind of courage that triumphs over internalized as well as external homophobia. Thank goodness for DESIRE that can triumph over just about anything! Of course, I don’t know what it’s like to inhabit that world, NEw York City in the eighties. But Brian Malloy’s excellent descriptions bring me a lot closer. That slogan SILENCE EQUALS DEATH expresses the choice we faced. I’m so glad this novel is bringing it back into the light.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    Viseral, gut-wrenching, and beautiful, this books tells an unforgetable story of one man's journey through AIDS. This book doesn't pull any punches, but instead of focusing on someone who is dying, it focuses on a partner struggling with grief, guilt, and an inability to move on. The other characters are vivid and brilliantly drawn, and there are no foregone conclusions to be made about where the story is going to go. I highly recommend this book. Viseral, gut-wrenching, and beautiful, this books tells an unforgetable story of one man's journey through AIDS. This book doesn't pull any punches, but instead of focusing on someone who is dying, it focuses on a partner struggling with grief, guilt, and an inability to move on. The other characters are vivid and brilliantly drawn, and there are no foregone conclusions to be made about where the story is going to go. I highly recommend this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    I was really glad to read this - particularly during COVID. It’s a wonderful/difficult/searing/uplifting account of the AIDS pandemic in very personal terms told over the course of a year in the 1980’s from the point of view of one man. It’s also very much about how he is changed over that time. Highly recommended for those who lived through that time but especially for those who didn’t.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate McGovern

    *I was able to read an advanced copy* I felt that Brian Malloy did a fantastic job capturing the fear, confusion, and devastation of the AIDS pandemic. I greatly appreciated the author’s honest and heartfelt storytelling. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to further their understanding of a very heartbreaking time in our history.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    After Francesco is a historical fiction written by Brian Malloy. It centers on Kevin Doyle, a gay man who is not living, but surviving, during the AIDS crisis, which took far too many gay men’s lives – one of them his lover, Francesco, two years ago. The novel is set at the end of the 1980s, partly in New York and Minneapolis, and tells the story of young Kevin Doyle. The book starts with a first emotional bang – a funeral, where someone he knew just died from AIDS at not yet twenty-eight years. K After Francesco is a historical fiction written by Brian Malloy. It centers on Kevin Doyle, a gay man who is not living, but surviving, during the AIDS crisis, which took far too many gay men’s lives – one of them his lover, Francesco, two years ago. The novel is set at the end of the 1980s, partly in New York and Minneapolis, and tells the story of young Kevin Doyle. The book starts with a first emotional bang – a funeral, where someone he knew just died from AIDS at not yet twenty-eight years. Kevin is rather surviving than living, too as his own lover Francesco has fallen victim to the same disease two years before and his grief is still so strong and all-encompassing that he isn't capable of doing much. He more or less goes through the motions of his unfulfilling daytime job, meets up with his friends Laurie and Toshiro, visits Eddie as often as his current lover, and attends a seemingly endless stream of funerals. The rest of the time, he just sits in the flat he shared with Francesco and drinks himself into oblivion. Laurie, whom he has known since his Minnesota childhood, is the one who finally reacts. When she has to drive him to the ER once too often because he’s in an alcohol-induced half coma, she tells him that either he gets his act together or he’s on his own from now on. At that point, Kevin has lost his job and is about to lose his flat and reluctantly returns to Minneapolis to live with his Irish aunt Nora – a strong, stubborn, very religious but caring woman, who forces him to give up the booze and attend the meetings of a self-help group for AIDS victims and their relatives. Little by little, Kevin begins to see life differently. He realizes that in face of the US government's deliberate ignorance of the epidemic, he must join forces with others who fight for public and official awareness if he doesn’t want to see yet more people die a horrible death. After Francesco is written extremely well – it is far from perfect, but comes rather close. Malloy revisits a not so remote era that devastated the gay community and plunged it into mourning like no other era before. This point comes across in a very poignant manner in ideology, religion, and politics can cause the deaths of millions of people simply because those in power believe their lives are of less value. All in all, After Francesco is a wonderful exploration of heartbreak, recovery, and how love can defy grief – even death.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John

    Thanks again to Lena Ribka’s review I was able to discover this wonderful book and look forward to reading more of the author’s work. The story and characters felt so real that it read like an incredibly well written autobiography. This was a very emotional book. All the emotions!!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.