All The Lonely People – Mike Gayle

Hubert Bird is not alone in being alone.
He just needs to realise it.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

From bestselling author Mike Gayle, All the Lonely People is by turns a funny and moving meditation on love, race, old age and friendship that will not only charm and uplift, but also remind you of the power of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.

Mike Gayle was born and raised in Birmingham. After graduating from Salford University with a degree in Sociology, he moved to London to pursue a career in journalism and worked as a Features Editor and agony uncle. He has written for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, the Guardian and Cosmopolitan.

Mike became a full time novelist in 1997 following the publication of his Sunday Times top ten bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend, which was hailed by the Independent as ‘Full of belly laughs and painfully acute observations,’ and by The Times as ‘A funny, frank account of a hopeless romantic’. Since then he has written thirteen novels including Mr Commitment, Turning Thirty and The Man I Think I Know. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages.

My Review:

He’s only gone and done it again – Mike Gayle has broken me, left me sobbing and heartbroken having just finished listening to his latest book All The Lonely People, narrated by the incredible Ben Onwukwe.

This is the second book I’ve listened to by Mike Gayle this year and I am delighted to see he has a huge back catalogue of 18 books to download and listen to.

All The Lonely People is a book about life, love, loss, friendship, family, feeling hopeless and feeling hopeful all rolled into one incredible story.

Hubert Bird is an 84 year old widower who emigrated to the UK from Jamaica as part of the Windrush Generation when he was 18, arriving to face hostility and racism but never giving up and determined to make something of his life.

When he meets and falls in love with a British white woman, Joyce, together they face the ignorance and bigotry of those around them which was so prevalent in the 1950s.

The story is told in alternating time frames – THEN – in which Hubert recounts his arrival in the UK age 18 and NOW, where 84 year old Hubert is widowed and living in isolation and loneliness.

It’s an emotional journey listening to Hubert recount the utter love and devotion he feels for his wife Joyce. He is one of the most wonderful fictional characters I’ve met and his inner strength and determination not to be beaten or pushed aside is inspirational.

This really is a wonderful book which covers so many topics from loneliness to friendships, from racism to acceptance, from love to grief and so many more in between. I fell in love with Hubert and miss him already.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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