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Presented by the Fairfield Public Library and made possible by the generous support of Friends of the Fairfield Public Library. Community partners include the Pequot Library, Fairfield University, Fairfield University Bookstore, Sacred Heart University, and the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

The town of Fairfield’s 2023 “One Book, One Town” title selection is I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye by hometown author Ivan Maisel. Please join us at the Quick Center on March 28 for a discussion with the author about this honest and emotionally deep memoir in which Maisel reflects on the loss of his dear son Max to suicide, the impact of grief on family and community, and the painful journey that brings Maisel to a place of seeing grief as an expression of love.


 “In February 2015, Ivan Maisel received a call that would alter his life forever: his son Max’s car was found abandoned in a parking next to Lake Ontario. Two months later, Max’s body would be found in the lake. I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye is the story of Maisel’s love for a son who was so different from him, but who he loved so deeply, and how he came to learn that grief for Max was nothing more than a last, ultimate expression of love. Navigating the moments of their complicated relationship, as well as their love for each other, Maisel explores the bridges he tried to build to his son and the grief that engulfed him and his family after Max’s death by suicide. Taking its title from Max’s love of photography–and his tendency to only love the camera when he was behind it, looking away whenever his picture was taken–I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye delves into the tragically transformative reality of losing a child, all with grace, depth, and refinement. But by humanizing Max and humanizing his grief, Maisel evokes understanding instead of sorrow, appreciation instead of anxiety–and love instead of fear.”


Praise for I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye:

(T)his beautiful and heart-wrenching work…yields a deeply affecting testament to the fragility of life, and the human capacity for resilience.

—starred review, Publishers Weekly

At the center of this beautifully written memoir by a father about his son Max, is a loving, devoted family. Ivan is a sportswriter, his clean, direct writing style is riveting and emotional. One winter day, when his son goes missing on purpose, the family unspools first in shock, then grief, and finally redemption as the author finds a letter written to him from Max from happier times. There is so much love in this memoir, the reader too, is redeemed. There is humor and grace as the Maisels find their way in the world without this beautiful soul in their midst. The family holds their memories of this original, one of a kind young man in their hearts. You will too. I couldn’t put it down.

—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife


Ivan Maisel is vice president, editorial, and a senior writer for on3.com.  He has covered college football for nearly four decades, from 2002-2021 at ESPN, where he wrote for ESPN.com and appeared on television, ESPN Radio, and podcasts. Prior to ESPN, Maisel covered national college football for Sports Illustrated, Newsday, and The Dallas Morning News.  He has been honored eight times for Best Story by the Football Writers Association of America, and twice by The Associated Press Sports Editors, which in 2019 named him one of the ten best sports columnists.

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