When All is Said – Anne Griffin

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?

‘I’m here to remember – all that I have been and all that I will never be again.’

A tale of a single night. The story of a lifetime.

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.

Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said.

About the Author: Anne Griffin is an Irish novelist living in Ireland. Anne was awarded the John McGahern Award for Literature, recognising previous and current works. Amongst others, she has been shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award and the Sunday Business Post Short Story Award.

My Review: When All is Said is the debut novel by Anne Griffin and if this is her debut I can’t wait to read her next one.  Told through the beautiful, soulful and melodic voice of Maurice Hannigan, an 84 year old widower When All Is Said is a love letter to his estranged son Kevin.

Maurice sits alone in a hotel bar in Ireland and toasts the 5 most important people in his life.  Taking the reader on the incredibly moving journey back to his childhood Maurice shares his loves, losses, regrets with such clarity I felt honoured and privileged to be reading his story.  Maurice’s voice is so real I could literally hear him in my head and at times his honesty and observations of life broke my heart.

Each chapter is a toast to someone special, his older brother Tony, his young daughter Molly, his sister-in-law Noreen, his son Kevin and finally the love of his life, his wife Sadie.  This book is a highly emotional, powerfully written, story of love, loss, regret and will stay in my heart and in my head for a long time.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


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