For Your Tomorrow

The Way of an Unlikely Soldier

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The Year of Magical Thinking meets Fifteen Days in this literary exploration of one Canadian's decision to enlist and go to war.

What compels a young, affluent Canadian to put on a uniform and risk his life for the controversial mission in Afghanistan? And how does his family cope with his loss when he is killed there? Jeff Francis was a thirty-year-old doctoral candidate and student of Buddhism when he decided that joining the armed forces was the best way to make a difference in the world. In elegant, spare prose that captures both the hardness of war and the nuances of a grieving family, Melanie Murray - Captain Francis's aunt - uses the lens of his life and death to give Canada's war in Afghanistan the perceptive, literary treatment its soldiers, families and citizens deserve.

From the Hardcover edition.


July 1, 2007. The fireworks explode in a fountain of light—flamingo, orange, purple, gold—and fade into the darkness. They’re cascading over Okanagan Lake, several kilometres away. But we can see them from the deck, through the leafy branches of the walnut tree.
“Happy Canada Day!...
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“Jeff Francis gave his life not only for his comrades and their mission; he gave it with the firm conviction that it was his duty to humanity. This detailed account of the two lives of a Canadian captain reveals his metamorphosis from a student-philosopher to a dedicated military leader and father, deeply committed to his family and ancestry. A most worthy read.”
— LGen. The Hon. Roméo Dallaire (Ret’d), author of Shake Hands with the Devil and They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children
“Melanie Murray sketches the life and tragic death of one Canadian soldier with such a tender regard for his motives that she allows us to comprehend the sacrifice without ever asking that we accept the war. She takes us to the heart of a grieving family as it struggles to find meaning within calamity. Through a sweep of history and myth – both personal and universal – she gives insight into a tragedy so many Canadian families have experienced. In the end, we come to share her family’s understanding of Jeff’s quest for higher purpose. This is an evocative and poignant story, written with style and compassion.”
— Carol Off, author of The Lion, the Fox and the Eagle, The Ghosts of Medak Pocket and Bitter Chocolate
“A heartbreaking and harrowing account of war, For Your Tomorrow transcends the simplicity of usual conflict narratives. With clear-eyed but emotional engagement, Melanie Murray unearths the courage and savagery that define Afghanistan’s and all wars.”
— Kevin Patterson, co-editor of Outside the Wire and author of Consumption

"Personal and compelling.... Murray writes with a clean, accomplished style.... Fitting tribute to the memory of the...Canadians who've made the same decision."
Winnipeg Free Press
"Both heart-rending and strangely affirming."
Toronto Star
"Elegiac and lyrical. She reaches for the language to convey something utterly personal and, in the process, soars into the deeply profound.... A worthy volume not just for those searching for catharsis, but also for a nation looking to bear witness to the full measure of our soldiers' sacrifice."
—Quill & Quire (starred review)