Cover Image: When All is Said

When All is Said

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Gosh! I'm so grateful to Netgalley, Hodder and Stoughton and the author, Anne Griffin for the opportunity to preview this fabulous read in exchange for my honest review.

Perhaps it's because this has been a year of loss. Perhaps it's because I'm Irish and have an 85 year old father. Whatever the reason, I adore this book. It's a fabulous reminisce of a life well lived and the memories, regrets and associations linked to that life.

It's just wonderful and I defy you not to cry, laugh, make commitments that you'll do better and hope. What more could you wish from a book?

This is one of the reasons I feel blessed to be part of the Netgalley family, as, I'd likely not have chosen this book were I not a reviewer. Feeling very grateful and thank you again.
Was this review helpful?
A masterpiece. Anne Griffin's debut novel has been getting a lot of buzz and I'm happy to say it's all deserved. It's very well written and has a great central character looking back on his 84 years with sadness, pride, regret, shame and joy. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. I was hooked  from the beginning. I could see the hotel in my minds eye and all the characters were distinct and well drawn. It has a real Irish feel to it. Maurice Hannigan is a wonderful character, and each chapter if his life is told with feeling and intimacy.. Truly a great read.
Was this review helpful?
Initially I heard a lot of buzz about this book and so I took a look at the synopsis on Netgalley but I was hesitant, as the thought of an elderly man monologue was a bit dubious to me. However, it works, wonderfully, and I was engrossed by the stories, both of his past loves and losses as well as the present day circumstances happening during his reflection at the bar.
Extending over a lifetime the hardships of working class Ireland and the challenges facing all generations was detailed and personal and honest. 
Was this review helpful?
A vivid telling of an extraordinary ordinary man

That title is a jumble, I know but having lived with Maurice Hannigan in my head for the last few days, it seems right somehow.

Beautifully unfurled with all the charm of the Irish vernacular, When All Is Said is a poignantly, clear-eyed (in spite of or maybe because of the drink) look back over someone's life, by that someone. 

Five toasts and a plan. Maurice is our host and a very likeable, entertaining one at that. Each raise of his glass brings new revelations, the characters worming their way into your heart as Maurice's beloved stout and whiskies flow into his blood.

You are left with the feeling you have spent a moment with a special person whose life story you are glad you heard. He is so real, I fully expect to bump into people who knew him if I ever visit County Meath.

To Maurice Hannigan - glass of something special
Was this review helpful?
I was surprised at the slow start to this book, but luckily I stuck with it and was transported to a beautifully drawn other world of an Irish farmer looking back over his life and toasting the people who had meant the most to him.  It has such charm and is told with such sensitivity that the reader is carried along by its fascinating characters and solid narrative almost unaware of the difference in time and place.  I am so pleased I did not give up after the rather uninspiring first chapter as it was a real treat to be absorbed by such a convincing and touching tale.
Was this review helpful?
Every so often a book comes along and grabs you, sucks you in and makes you feel every single emotion. This is a beautifully written, beautifully observed book, The story of Maurice an 84 year old farmer looking back at his life, his loves, and his enemies, as he raises 5 toasts to those who  meant the most to him and in that we hear the story of his life. The whole book takes place over one evening in a hotel bar. This made me smile, laugh and the tears ran down my face at the end. 
Just beautiful. I’m mourning a man I never met
Was this review helpful?
What a wonderful book!
Sitting at a hotel bar in a small Irish town  is 84 year old Maurice Hannigan.  Sitting alone he will raise a toast to the five people who have meant the most to him during his life. In a heartbreaking, heartwarming narration you will read the story of his life.
It is a very well written, beautiful story with well drawn characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and will recommend it to everyone who is looking for a  Can't Put It Down book.
5 shiny gold stars
Was this review helpful?
Irish farmer Maurice Hannigan, 84 and widowed  pulls up a pew at the bar of the local hotel in Co. Meath and there, he raises a toast to five people who have helped shape his life. Through each of these five toasts, we learn of Maurice's life from the 1940's to present day. 
This book is fantastic. I couldn't put it down and read it over 24 hours. It is a breathtaking read of one man's simple yet captivating life, it's heartwarming, funny, poignant, devestatingly sad (lots of tears at one stage!) and it is utterly compelling reading. I loved it and it gets a big fat 5/5 from me. I highly recommend it for your New Year's reading list.
Was this review helpful?
This is a beautifully written book. Very sad at times but not in a depressing way. It is the real story of Maurice Hannigans life from cradle to grave. Most enjoyable
Was this review helpful?
When All Is Said by Anne Griffen is a book which packs an emotional punch.

Over the course of an evening, 84 year old Maurice Hannigan sits in a bar in a local hotel and raises five toasts to five people who were important in his life. Although on his own, he imagines he is telling his son about these five people and through the toasts we learn his life story.

At first I thought it might be a similar concept to Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven but while Albom's main character is surprised by the five people he meets and influenced when he was alive, Maurice knows very well and appreciates the significance of the five people he is raising a toast to. Through his reminiscing we learn about his loves, his regrets, the ghosts of the past, his secrets, his joys and his sorrows.

This book is storytelling at its best. I felt as though I could have been sitting on the bar stool next to Maurice listening to him tell his story. He had a relatively ordinary life perhaps, but Anne Griffen's writing makes it captivating in its telling nonetheless.

I expect that some people will feel a bit conflicted about the ending and of course I'm not going to tell you how it ends. But I would say that I thought the ending was perfect, very poignant yet perfect.
Was this review helpful?
Took me a while to read this book. There is a beauty to the writing, evocative prose that conjures up lifelike characters and takes you under the skin of people you feel you might have known. Although some parts of the book made me laugh, overall I found it moving and somewhat melancholy.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Often the almost hysterical hype that accompanies a new author just does not deliver, but, at last,  in the case of “When All Is Said”, here is a book that lived up to expectations.

This was the self-told story of the long life of 84 year old farmer Maurice Hannigan,  Sitting in the bar of his local hotel in a small Irish town, Maurice reminisces by raising a toast to five people who have made him the person he is - his older brother Tony, his lost daughter Molly, his sister-in-law Noreen, his beloved wife Sadie and his only son, Kevin.  All but Kevin, now a successful journalist living in America, are dead, leaving taciturn  Maurice lonely and sad,  his significant wealth gained by hard work and hard-nosed land deals meaning nothing without Sadie his lifetime partner and one true love.

Maurice tells his story as if you are sitting on a bar stool beside him, sharing an Irish stout or whisky, and this storytelling style adds an effective charm to the book.  Maurice is tired of life and has put his affairs in order, tying up all loose ends and selling up the family home.   Throughout the book you suspect Maurice is planning an end that he wants and because the book is warm and witty and very believable, when the end of the book approached I felt a conflicting mix of wanting it all to be ok and for Maurice to be saved, but also wanting Maurice to achieve his dearest wish because life and experience tell you that things come to and end and his choice is better than the other alternatives.  

Books don’t often make me cry but I had a tear in my eye at the end.  An accomplished debut and I will look out for more by this author in future.
Was this review helpful?
A beautifully written debut to end 2018 on a high. A man in his 80's sits at a bar and raises his glass to the 5 people in his life who have a difference. A heartwarming and heartbreaking look at the life of Maurice, narrated by  himself he is not always a likeable character, he is grumpy and moody yet clearly loved in his life by the people around him. There are no surprises, no twist and turns just a sold story of love, life truth and secrets.
Was this review helpful?
A man at a bar raises his glass and toasts memories of his lifetime. A gentle, easily read book that inspires me to look at my life and enjoy past memories. A great book that I would recommend to anyone. Just read and enjoy the love.
Was this review helpful?
This was a brilliant story of love, family history and the secrets we keep and of loneliness. The whole book builds up to a sad climax however that is not the most important story of this tale. 

Each chapter is written as a toast to important characters and each of these was told with warmth, compassion and the small details that made all the individuals come alive on the page.

The writing is beautiful and I could literally imagine myself sat in that Irish bar hearing the story as if it was being told just to me.

There are echoes of the wonderful The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and I hope the author is proud of this comparison because that was a brilliant book. When All is Said is equally as gifted in relaying it’s story alongside the quiet lessons in life that we sometimes need a reminder of.
Was this review helpful?
Maurice Hannigan tells his story through making a toast to the most important people in his life whilst "speaking" to his absent son, who had emigrated. I got so caught up in his tale that in one instance it was a shock to be brought back to the present. He speaks of how he was treated as a child and any regrets he has now when it's too late to make amends. A fascinating tale.
Was this review helpful?
Maurice Hannigan has the evening planned out.  He is alone, drinking whisky at a hotel which holds a lot of memories, good and bad, for him.
During the evening he drinks five toasts to the five people who have been in his life. These are stories of brotherhood, hardship, love,tragedy and hope.
This is a beautifully written book which will leave a lasting impression.
Was this review helpful?
In its own solitary way this book is a thing of beauty and I hope it gets a nod next year when it’s time for handing out awards and being listed on distinguished and best books lists. It’s a story of sorrow, vengeance, loneliness, abuse and loss.

The story is narrated by the main character, Maurice Hannigan, as he tells the tale of his life and how he became the man he is and the people who helped him become that man. Now as an old man he looks back upon mistakes, the events that formed his character and some of his regrets. Five people, five toasts and his entire life in one evening.

The natural inclination of man or woman is to look back upon their lives as they grow older, especially if they are nearing the end of their time. The author really captures this nostalgic mood and how conflicted Hannigan feels about certain situations and people in his life.

One of the more poignant moments is when Hannigan has no choice but to put himself in the shoes of the man he has hated his whole life. Not that it makes that man less of a muppet, but it does give Hannigan a different perspective on certain behaviour and events he had to endure. Sometimes we only see one side of the story, which is often coloured by our own frame of reference and emotional involvement.

Griffin has a natural flair for writing and telling a story. With the most basic of recipes, one man and his drink of choice, just his voice and his memories – the author gives us a deep well of emotions, caustic commentary and breathtaking honesty. The reader lifts their drink and toasts alongside Hannigan, as he contemplates and reminisces the many decades of calculated moves. It’s a subtle and spectacular read.
Was this review helpful?
Lovely story about Maurice Hannigan’s life. This story is written as though he is sitting with you telling the story. Very emotional in places. Very good
Was this review helpful?