Quote: “No one, no one really knows loss until it’s someone you love.”

Image result for when all is said anne griffin goodreadsWhen All Is Said is one of my favourite reads so far this year. This is storytelling at its most pure.

Maurice Hannigan is a man on a mission. Tonight, at the bar of his local hotel, he will make five toasts. One for each of the most important people in his life.

While doing so, he will tell a story that begins with a young boy sent up to the big house for work and ends with a very wealthy and lonely man sitting on a barstool. Along the way, the reader shares every gripe, every win and every loss of Hannigan’s life.

The solid structure of this debut novel is it’s chief strength. The author beautifully paints a picture of authentic familial relationships while also creating an interesting narrative that spans a lifetime.

Notes:

  • Image result for when all is said anne griffin goodreadsI listened to this as an audiobook read by Niall Buggy and this definitely enhanced the reading experience for me.
  • There is a mysterious story behind the writing of this book. The author was cycling the Great Western Greenway in the West of Ireland (one of my favourite places) when she encounter an old man at a bar. In the midst of small talk, he told her ‘I won’t see the morning’ and then promptly disappeared amongst the crowd. This chance meeting inspired the character of Maurice Hannigan!
  • This book reminded me of Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Another great story that comes across well in audiobook format.