“Parts of this story will stay with me forever. I finished it in tears.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of "committed" and "eat, pray, love"

"After Visiting Friends" is a heartrending and
beautifully written memoir of a family's legacy of secrets.
It is a universal story about how we discover ourselves.

Michael Hainey had just turned six, in the spring of 1970, when his uncle knocked on his family's back door early one morning with tragic news: his father, Bob Hainey, had been found dead in the night, alone on a Chicago street. Thirty-five years old, Bob was a bright and shining star in the hard-living brotherhood of 1960s American 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 family—and questions surrounding the mysterious nature of his death that would obsess Michael throughout adolescence and long into adulthood.

Finally, roughly his father's age when he died, and a seasoned reporter himself, Michael set out to learn what happened that night.

Died "after visiting friends," the obituaries said. But the details beyond that were inconsistent. What friends? Where? At the heart of his quest is Michael's all-too-silent, opaque mother, a woman of great courage and tenacity—and a steely determination not to look back. Prodding and cajoling his relatives, and working through a network of his father's buddies who abide by an honor code of silence and secrecy, Michael sees beyond the long-held myths and ultimately reconciles the father he'd imagined with the one he comes to know—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.

“I inhaled this story. Everything you want and need in a book. I started one chapter with
my coffee in the morning and then never made it to work. A beautiful book.”
Gabrielle Hamilton, Author of "Blood, Bones, and Butter"

Michael Hainey was born in Chicago and lives in Manhattan. He has been working in magazines for more than twenty-five years, as a writer and editor. Currently, he is the Deputy Editor of GQ. He has also sold fruits and vegetables; worked on a road-repair crew; washed dishes; cooked in a cafeteria; and sold men's clothes.




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“There's great dignity in the way Hainey treats his people and this lost story.
Hainey's straightforward honesty will grip you and stay with you.”
Peter Orner, author of "Love and Shame and Love"

“A book whose heartbreak and humor, in the true Irish tradition, can't be untangled.
It's a kind of detective story, but the mystery is the past itself.”
John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of "Pulphead"


I'm honored by all the conversations "After Visiting Friends" has sparked among readers. Please use the space below to share a tale of your journey.