When All Is Saidby Published 05 Mar 2019
|When All Is Said.pdf|
|Publisher||Thomas Dunne Books|
A tale of a single night. The story of a lifetime.
If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said and done?
This is the story of Maurice Hannigan, who, over the course of a Saturday night in June, orders five different drinks at the Rainford House Hotel. With each he toasts a person vital to him: his doomed older brother, his troubled sister-in-law, his daughter of fifteen minutes, his son far off in America, and his late, lamented wife. And through these people, the ones who left him behind, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs.
Beautifully written, powerfully felt, When All Is Said promises to be the next great Irish novel.
"When All Is Said" Reviews
3.5 Stars 🌟
I'll begin this review by explaining why I chose this book in the first place. To put it simply, the author is Irish. I have become an avid fan of the modern Irish authors of late, John Boyne (who endorsed this book), Liz Nugent and Tana French just to name a few, and this debut by Anne Griffin definitely shows promise. I don't know what they are putting in the stout over there but it's working.
This story involves a night at a bar with 80+ year old Maurice as he makes a toast to the five most important and influential people to grace his life. Between toasts he reflects on the history with each person in his head as if he is speaking to his son.
Each story is an in-depth look into the life and times of Maurice but he sometimes swerves off subject and becomes a bit wordy for my liking, although, through the magic of Griffin's writing, he eventually comes back around, seamlessly connecting the dots.
Anne Griffin's storytelling is incredible and up there with some of the greats. Very talented and adepth at giving each character a voice of their own despite the fact that they are all introduced through the eyes of Maurice.
With all of that being said, had I not been reading this as an ARC with the promise of a review, I may have given up on this book around the 50% mark. It just wasn't for me and that fact has nothing to do with the quality of Anne Griffin's prose. I found myself bored at times, feeling like this story really had no direction, no plateau, no progression at all, especially since the reader already knows the ending from the get-go.
I've no doubt that most will fall in love with this story so I certainly do not discourage any reader from adding it to their shelves. I'm in no way put off from reading a book by this author in the future. For me, this particular effort feels like a premise that has been done before and better.
I was provided an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is an exceptional, undeniably Irish, debut from Anne Griffin, the prose is effortlessly engaging and it is simultaneously heartbreaking and life affirming as we get intimately acquainted with the life and times of 84 year old Maurice Hannigan. Hannigan has packed up his life, leaving no loose threads prior to booking the most exclusive suite at the Rainsford House Hotel. Early on, we cotton on to how the night will end, but before that, Maurice settles in for an evening at the hotel bar to raise a toast for the five most important loves of his life. They are Tony, his brother, Molly, his daughter, Noreen or Auntie No-no, his son, Kevin, who emigrated to New Jersey, USA, becoming a notable journalist, and lastly, but of the most vital importance, his wife, Sadie.
As Maurice reminisces, we become aware of just how close his bond with Tony is, of how school became a tortuous experience as he became convinced of just how stupid he is. He leaves at 10 years old to work, like his mother, for the local rich family, the Dollards, where he undergoes a plethora of the most unhappiest of experiences that are to leave him scarred for life and shape him to be the most unforgiving of men. The scales shift as through the years the Dollard fortunes drop substantially whilst Maurice becomes a astute entrepreneurial farmer, buying up the land around his farm, becoming financially secure and wealthy. He falls for Sadie hook, line and sinker, and to his surprise and joy, she returns his love. Sadie's sister, Noreen, is fiercely drawn to the sparkle, and she will go to any lengths to acquire it when she sees it, not afraid of making a fuss in public. Kevin makes a ritual of providing his father with rare whiskies. To Maurice's eternal regret, he has not been an expressive man, he has never been able to articulate the depth of his love to those nearest and dearest. It becomes transparently clear that loneliness has seeped into Maurice's heart and soul.
Anne Griffin has written a touchingly profound and moving novel, of the oh so very human Maurice, his joys and tragedies, the ghosts who have been there in his life, and his concerns that the one ghost he really wants to see has proved to be elusive. Maurice is a character you cannot help but get emotionally invested in, despite his obsession for business and making money, which, of course, left him open to missing the opportunities to be with his loved ones when they may have needed him. This novel hones in what is important in life, family, friends and love. Maurice is not infallible, he had a drive for vengeance, not always aware of the consequences of his actions but I loved and adored him. This is a brilliantly enthralling story of Maurice, of his dyslexia, his family, heartbreak, and the Ireland he lives through. Hugely recommended. Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.
First 5 star novel of 2019!
Anne Griffin is amazingly talented. She had me sitting in the bar with Maurice, listening to him make a toast at 84 years old to each of his five favourite people. Maurice had me laughing, crying, getting angry — including at him more than a few times — and shaking my head. Maurice grew up in a village near Dublin, and he never left. But he managed to get out of the poverty of his childhood, marry Sadie, have his son Kevin, and amass more than a few grudges and regrets. He has now sold everything he owns, checked into the local hotel and climbed onto a stool in the bar. In the form a toast per chapter, he addresses his son, recounting his life, tallying his regrets and coming to grips with his life. He has a sharp tongue, a stubborn streak and a hard shell - but also has a bit of a soft side. There were a couple of small things in the plot that I didn’t love, but this was nevertheless a true 5 star read for me. I can’t wait to read Griffin’s next book. This was a buddy read with my lovely GR friends, Diane and Angela — always a treat to read together. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
A subtly beautiful story that celebrates life, loss, and, most significantly, love.
“I’m here to remember -- all that I have been and all that I will never be again.”
One night in Meath, Ireland at a hotel 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan makes five toasts to five people. In doing so, he recounts those who have shaped his life in the most important ways. His tribute to these five individuals reveals his accomplishments, regrets, and unwavering love for his friends, family, and his wife, Sadie.
This is a lovely, touching read that is beautifully written. Maurice’s story is both understated and raw. I loved getting to know him and reading his truthful account of his life. He doesn’t sugarcoat or make excuses. He basks in the glory of his small victories. In Meath, he is known for his rich speaking voice, and as a reader, his voice drew me in with his ability to take a simple story and elevate it into something special. In Maurice, Griffin has created a character who is authentic, complex, and charming. I felt his emotions and heartbreak. My favorite toast was to his wife, Sadie. I was a bit shattered in the end, but at the same time, I understood that this was the right way to end Maurice’s story. Highly recommended! Warning: have tissues handy!
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.
At the bar in a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84 year old Maurice Hannigan. He's alone as usual. So pull up a chair and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story. He will raise 5 toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Stories of joy, regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden and a fierce love that never found its voice.
What a heartwarming but also a heartbreaking story this is. A beautifully written story. An old man sits at the bar and toast the most important people that have been in his life. All but his son have passed away. This tear jerker of a story covers every emotion from joy, sadness, love, compassion and much much more. Intertwined with these toasts lies another story, a mystery that involves a once rich family that was cruel to Maurice's family. You will guess the ending but that won't make you think any less of this wonderful story, I do recommend this book.
I would like to thank NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author Anne Griffin for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.