Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
Nominated for the Governor General's Literary Awards 2005, (Children's Literature, Text)
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.
After 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. After 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.
About the author
- Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award - Children (English)
Francis Chalifour was born and raised in Quebec and now lives in Toronto, where he teaches social sciences to grades seven and eight. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Education at the University of Ottawa, specializing in the influence of the mourning process on children’s learning. Francis has been writing for most of his life. His first published work was the French novel Zoom Papaye, and he has contributed articles to Maclean’s, Le Devoir, and La Presse. He has also hosted a radio program and worked for Télévision française de l’Ontario.
AfterFrancis is an average boy of fifteen. But when he arrives home from a school trip to hear that his father has ended his life by hanging himself, there is nothing ‘average’ about life anymore. Francis sinks into depression, and suddenly shock, guilt, anger, and sadness are everywhere. He worries about his mother and struggles to gently handle his younger brother’s confusion about the absence of their father. Most of all, Francis is nearly crushed by the enormous weight of knowing that his father is irrevocably gone and life will not ever be the same again.
Almost nothing seems to matter anymore, and there is a gulf between Francis and his old friends, who – despite good intentions – have no idea what he is going through. Healing is elusive, support hard to find and accept, but he slowly sees that keeping his turmoil to himself is no good at all. He realizes that finding help is possible, and recovery begins sneaking up on him in small ways. Perhaps – just maybe – there is a way to go on…
Aptly named, Chalifour’s novel – one of the five nominees for the Governor General’s Literary Award (Children’s Literature, English-language text) – is a poignant, true-to-life examination of loss and the achingly long, complex road to renewal after it. After takes us to the heart of a grieving family that faces the death of a loved one, and survives.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2006. Vol.29 No. 1.
AfterTime, counselling, friends and family help 15-year-old Francis heal from his father’s suicide. An acclaimed autobiographical first novel, steeped in sadness, but ultimately ending in hope.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2006.