The Final Comeback of Keith Olbermann

Here we go again: Keith Olbermann’s stormed off or been kicked off pretty much every channel on the air, enraged whole voting blocs, insulted Al Gore, and become his own Worst Person in the World. But now, to the surprise of every detractor, every former employer, and, hell, Olbermann himself, he’s back on ESPN, the channel he made and that made him. The least angry (really), most contented (seriously), most committed team player (c’mon) in broadcasting tells Michael Hainey why this time—this time—it’s all going to work out great.

Courtesy of GQ Deputy Editor Michael Hainey, the Mark McNairy Spring 2014 Finale from New York Fashion Week.

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This week’s Longreads Member Pick is the first chapter from the best-selling memoir After Visiting Friends, GQ deputy editor Michael Hainey’s story of his father’s death and his search for answers. Hainey was 6 years old when his father, newspaperman Bob Hainey, died suddenly but questions remained about the circumstances around his death. 

We’re proud to feature the book. Thanks to Michael and Scribner for sharing this story.

Read an excerpt here.

Support Longreads—and get more stories like this—by becoming a member for just $3 per month.

The GQ&A: GQ’s Own Michael Hainey on Writing, Manhood, and His Memoir, ‘After Visiting Friends’
When a dude who has deftly edited everyone from Walter Kirn to Alan Richman to James Ellroy over the course of a fourteen-year stint at your favorite men’s general-interest magazine turns around and writes his own book, you read it. You read it because the author, GQ’s deputy editor Michael Hainey, is a supremely talented writer, editor, and interviewer (just see this month’s cover story. You read it because no less than John Jeremiah Sullivan described it as “a book whose heartbreak and humor, in the true Irish tradition, can’t be untangled.” And you read it because the book’s subject is one that any man can relate to: the story of a son trying to learn more about his father, to understand him as a man.
What you find in the pages of After Visiting Friends is more or less what you’d expect: some genius-level literary fusing of forms and functions. Words set into type as if chiseled from stone letter by letter. A decade’s worth of writing and reporting that takes the reader though a pastiche of narrative non-fiction, dreamy invented scenes, hard documents, and every writerly tool in-between. When you’re done reading this book you will want to be a better man, a better father, and a better writer.
The first step was to sit down with Hainey and talk writing, manhood, and life for two hours. Then go here to get and read the real thing.
The becoming a better man part is up to you.
The GQ&A: GQ’s Own Michael Hainey on Writing, Manhood, and His Memoir, ‘After Visiting Friends’

When a dude who has deftly edited everyone from Walter Kirn to Alan Richman to James Ellroy over the course of a fourteen-year stint at your favorite men’s general-interest magazine turns around and writes his own book, you read it. You read it because the author, GQ’s deputy editor Michael Hainey, is a supremely talented writer, editor, and interviewer (just see this month’s cover story. You read it because no less than John Jeremiah Sullivan described it as “a book whose heartbreak and humor, in the true Irish tradition, can’t be untangled.” And you read it because the book’s subject is one that any man can relate to: the story of a son trying to learn more about his father, to understand him as a man.

What you find in the pages of After Visiting Friends is more or less what you’d expect: some genius-level literary fusing of forms and functions. Words set into type as if chiseled from stone letter by letter. A decade’s worth of writing and reporting that takes the reader though a pastiche of narrative non-fiction, dreamy invented scenes, hard documents, and every writerly tool in-between. When you’re done reading this book you will want to be a better man, a better father, and a better writer.

The first step was to sit down with Hainey and talk writing, manhood, and life for two hours. Then go here to get and read the real thing.

The becoming a better man part is up to you.

GQ Deputy Editor Michael Hainey's book, After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story, comes out tomorrow!

Michael Hainey had just turned six when his uncle knocked on his family’s back door one morning with the tragic news: Bob Hainey, Michael’s father, was found alone near his car on Chicago’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 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.

To pre-order your copy, click here.

GQ Deputy Editor Michael Hainey's book, After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story, comes out tomorrow!

Michael Hainey had just turned six when his uncle knocked on his family’s back door one morning with the tragic news: Bob Hainey, Michael’s father, was found alone near his car on Chicago’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 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.

To pre-order your copy, click here.

Our March 2013 Cover Star: Bruce Willis
From Moonlighting to Moonrise Kingdom, Bruce Willis has made a career of confounding audiences. Here’s a guy who can shoot ‘em up with the best of the Arnolds and the Slys—yippee-ki-yayyyy!—and then twee it up, all sensitive and vulnerable, for Wes Anderson. The result? One of the weirdest bodies of work (in a good way) of any A-list actor in Hollywood. Michael Hainey sits down with Willis in London and finds a man who’s old enough to have some thoughts on where he’s been—and young enough to care a lot more about where he’s going.
Our March 2013 Cover Star: Bruce Willis

From Moonlighting to Moonrise Kingdom, Bruce Willis has made a career of confounding audiences. Here’s a guy who can shoot ‘em up with the best of the Arnolds and the Slys—yippee-ki-yayyyy!—and then twee it up, all sensitive and vulnerable, for Wes Anderson. The result? One of the weirdest bodies of work (in a good way) of any A-list actor in Hollywood. Michael Hainey sits down with Willis in London and finds a man who’s old enough to have some thoughts on where he’s been—and young enough to care a lot more about where he’s going.