Fifteen-year-old Francis’s father has committed suicide and nothing will be the same again. Suicide is ugly, unglamorous, and it is never a solution. Its aftermath is dreadful.
At first, Francis feels a terrible guilt. Could he have been a better son? What if he hadn’t left his home in Montreal to go on a brief holiday in New York the weekend it happened? Soon the guilt turns to anger and then to a sadness so profound that he thinks he can’t bear it.
Le Fils du pendu is the map of a year following the suicide of a family member. In the course of months, with the love of his mother, with counseling, and with the balm of time, Francis takes his first steps toward coming to terms with his father’s — and his family’s — tragedy. Le Fils du pendu is intensely personal, but it will resonate with anyone who has faced the loss of a loved one.
This brilliant autobiographical first novel is an acute analysis of the grieving process. Although it is steeped in Francis’s sadness, it is ultimately a story of hope.
Tundra author Francis Chalifour was born and raised in Quebec and now lives in Toronto, where he teaches grades seven and eight. He has a Master’s degree in Education, specializing in the influence of the mourning process on children’s learning. Chalifour has been writing for most of his life. His first published work was the French novel Zoom Papaye. His first novel in English was After, which was shortlisted for a Governor General’s award. He has contributed articles to The Walrus, Maclean’s, Le Devoir, La Presse, and Professionally Speaking. Chalifour has also hosted a radio program and worked for TFO/TVO.
Praise for After:
“A compelling, beautifully-written account of a family touched by a father’s suicide. In the character Francis, we have a voice that is candid, honest, funny and heartbreaking.” — Governor General’s Literary Award Jury
“Chalifour’ s prose gives ... a full and nuanced picture of grief in all its manifestations.... This is a strong and affecting narrative for any reader, but a particularly compelling one for those who may have experienced what Francis has.” — Globe and Mail