‹ Back to our Books



Binding: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-57131-331-7
Pages: 336
Publish Date: May 2012
Genre: Nonfiction

Cures for Hunger

A Memoir

BY Deni Ellis Bechard

As a child, Deni Béchard has no idea his family was unusual. His mother is from Pittsburgh and there is a vague sense that his father is from Quebec, but when Deni is assigned to complete a family tree in school, he begins to wonder why he doesn’t know more about his father’s side of the family. Who is André Béchard, and why do the police seem so interested in him?

Soon after Deni’s mother leaves his father and decamps with her three children to Virginia, Deni learns that André was once a bank robber, a revelation that sets his imagination on fire. Boyish rebelliousness soon gives way to fantasies of a life of crime. At once attracted and repelled, Deni can’t escape the sense that his father’s life holds the key to understanding himself, and to making sense of his own passions and longings. Only when he goes off to college does Deni begin to unravel the story of his father’s life, eventually returning with it to the Quebecois family that André had fled long ago.



• The following readings from Cures for Hunger explore the contours of Deni’s unique family. In the first, Béchard introduces the rift opening between him and his father, and in the second, recounts when he first suspected André’s criminal past.

• Listen to Deni’s interview on The Daily Circuit below.

“You haven’t read a story like this one, even if your father was the kind of magnificent scoundrel you only find in Russian novels.”

—Marlon James, author of              
The Book of Night Women



Vandal Love

In assured and mystically powerful prose, Deni Y. Béchard tells a wide-ranging, spellbinding story of a family trying to create an identity in an unwelcoming landscape.
Read more ›


Empty Hands, Open Arms

A journey into the Congo to learn how community development can save the bonobos and the rainforest.
Read more ›


Of Bonobos and Men

Combining elements of travelogue, journalism, and natural history, this incomparably rich book takes the reader not only deep into the Congo, but also into our past and future.
Read more ›


Into the Sun

The long-awaited second novel by prize-winning author and journalist Deni Ellis Bechard
Read more ›

Editorial ReviewGoodreads Review

“[B]y understanding his father's stories, and by unearthing his mysterious past, Deni can find the keys to his own torments, rages and compulsions—the Cures for Hunger—and find a way to still be free in a life of adult constraints.”

Huffington Post

“Though [the characters] are destined to remain unsatisfied, they are entirely free from self-pity—refreshing for a memoir about (among many other things) a dysfunctional family.”

The Iowa Review

“A poignant but rigorously unsentimental account of hard-won maturity.”

Kirkus Reviews

Cures for Hunger is a sad story in which a son attempts to learn about a mysterious father who failed to appreciate his son's desire to write, finish school and find his own way in life. Toward the end of André's life, though, father and son, while not fully reconciling their troubles, seemed to have found some calm understanding. For Deni Béchard, it was his telling of these stories that gave him peace, which in turn gives us insight into growing up in the midst of a truly unusual family.

Star Tribune


Find Us Online


Sign Up


Deni Ellis Bechard

Deni Ellis Bechard has written three books, traveled in over fifty countries, and reported from India, Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Northern Iraq.

Read More  Deni Ellis Bechard

all books
the fiction
the nonfiction
young readers

scroll left scroll right

Contact Us
© 2016 Milkweed Editions, a nonprofit, literary publisher. All Rights Reserved.
This website was made possible through the generosity of our donors.

Site by Firebrand, LLC
Site design by Maloney Design Studio