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St. Martin's Griffin
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781250056504240 Pages
Barnes & Noble
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...