Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
This Is How You Say Goodbye

This Is How You Say Goodbye

A Daughter's Memoir

Victoria Loustalot

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

When Victoria Loustalot was eight years old her father swept her up in a grand fantasy: a trip around the world. It was an outlandish plan and she fell for it. But it could never happen. Victoria's once-closeted father was gay and HIV positive. Not long after making his promise, he would be bedridden full-blown AIDS. Three days before her eleventh birthday, he would kill himself.
But Victoria never forgot the fantasy. And she never stopped wondering what it would have been like to be alone with her father, to have seen him outside of his bed and his home, to have been with him in a new context. And what of him? Would he have glimpsed not just that eight-year-old girl on the banks of the Seine, but his adult daughter, too?

This Is How You Say Goodbye follows a daughter as she searches for answers about her father, and about herself. In this razor-sharp memoir, Victoria Loustalot travels to Cambodia, Stockholm, and Paris to find out who her difficult and charismatic father was, and where, exactly, she came from. Writing with grace, humor, and ruthless honesty, she investigates her father's past, tracks down the men he loved, and ultimately finds peace within a jagged loss. This is a book born out of love and need, because while her father would always be forty-four, Victoria came to understand their relationship was still very much alive. And she needed to say goodbye.



It took me a long time to learn how to smile. I was never a child who could light up on command, who could give the photographer that open-mouthed beam, the kid face scrunched up like an accordion. That kind of giddy joy didn't...


Praise for This Is How You Say Goodbye

“[C]ompelling reading. An intimate portrait of a bittersweet father-daughter relationship.” —Kirkus

“Eloquent . . . gently probing . . . delineates a young woman's arduous passage to self-realization.” —Publishers Weekly

“In this moving memoir, her first book, Loustalot alternates reminiscences of her dad and highlights of her trip, including Stockholm, Angkor Wat, and Paris. She paints a portrait of a man stoic in the face of quiet suffering. By turns sweet . . . and heart-wrenching . . . Loustalot writes with courage and candor about bidding her beloved father a final farewell.” —Booklist

“Moves between past and present and is told in frank, detailed narrative marked by irony, heartache and some humor.” —Sacramento Bee

“Victoria Loustalot's memoir will resonate with anyone who has ever tried to resolve the complexities of an enigmatic parent, or plumb what lies at the heart of the filial bond. Her uncommon intelligence, wit, and compassion shine through in this beautifully realized memoir. Loustalot is a beguiling writer and This Is How You Say Goodbye a smashing debut.” —Alexandra Styron, author of Reading my Father

“In lyrical, thoughtful, often humorous prose, Victoria Loustalot searches for her father, who came out as gay when Victoria was only seven and died from AIDS too young. Her search takes her to many continents and lovers, all as she attempts to understand her own relationship to intimacy. What Loustalot has written is a love story – a moving, aching love story to the father she never knew. It will resonate for all who have loved and lost, and who wish to heal.” —Kerry Cohen, author of Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity

“THIS IS HOW YOU SAY GOODBYE is a remarkable accomplishment. A riveting narrative that lays bare how important it is to come to terms with the past, this honest and heartrending memoir is for everybody who has ever tried to find his or her place in their family-and in the world.” —Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof and Friendkeeping

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Victoria Loustalot

VICTORIA LOUSTALOT is a twenty-seven-year-old journalist and essayist. She earned her B.A. and M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Onion as well as online for AOL, iVillage, Women's Wear Daily, Glamour Magazine's relationship blog "Smitten," Brides and the recently launched Crushable among others. She also wrote The New Yorker's daily literary blog, "The Book Bench," in 2008 and 2009. This Is How You Say Goodbye is her first book.

Victoria Loustalot

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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