One morning in August of 2007, Didier Pourquery’s daughter, Agathe, only a few days away from her twenty-third birthday, stopped breathing. Seven years after her death, her father tells her story, based on his notes taken during the last three weeks of her life. He shares not only his sadness and loss, but also the joy that characterized his relationship with his daughter. At her birth, Agathe’s doctors said the average life expectancy for a child born with cystic fibrosis was twenty-five years. Once he learned his daughter only had a few weeks left to live, Didier Pouquery began writing daily about her last weeks. The notes he took then became the source of this book: a homage that is full of hope and light, even as it boldly highlights deep human frailty and the pain of losing a child. Pourquery alternates between an account of Agathe’s physical condition and a letter addressed to her after her death. We get to know her—and her father—through this lyrical and poignant portrait and ode. Who was this joyful and straight-talking girl? How did she grow up in the shadow of this looming disease? How was she able to help those around her, even as she faced a certain and early death? Although Agathe’s Summer is one father’s testimony to the short life of a child grown into a young woman, it is also the story of the love, hope, fear, and joy that speaks to all parents.
Didier Pourquery is the managing editor of the website The Conversation and the former editor-in-chief of Sciences & Vie Economie, La Tribune, InfoMatin, VSD, and L’ Expansion. He launched and headed the daily newspaper Metro in France before becoming executive director of Libé ration then deputy director for Le Monde from 2009 to 2014. He is the author of six books dealing with the world of business and media, as well as Mots de l’ é poque (2014). He currently lives in Paris, France.