Cover Image: When All is Said

When All is Said

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Member Reviews

Insightful and moving, this book steers us through the memories of 84-year old Maurice and his life as a farmer in Ireland from just before the Second World War into the present day.
We meet Maurice in a hotel bar where he holds 5 toasts for the 5 people who were most instrumental and beloved in his life.
Beautifully written, his voice is authentic as he meanders through his past - a highly enjoyable read, heartbreaking at times, eye-opening and simply wonderful!
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When All Is Said
By Anne Griffin

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

At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual – though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.

Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerfully and poignantly laid bare.

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

Our Review
Anne Griffin has written a wonderful debut novel that is sure to win her many fans. When All is Said is a unique treasure of a book and one that is definitely going to make it on to my list of favourite novels of 2019.

There are few surprises in this book it is just a simple story told in conversational style, a man explaining a decision to his absent son.

Maurice Hannigan is sat alone in a hotel bar when the tale begins. Over the course of the evening he toasts five people who have had a significant impact on his life and will have an impact on the reader during the course of their reading: his brother Tony, his sister-in-law, his daughter Molly, his son Kevin and his late wife Sadie.

When All is Said is a poignant story of love and loss, feuds and revenge, and regrets. Each element of the story builds an unforgettable tale.

Maurice is not a one-dimensional character, there are things you will love about him and also plenty of things to dislike, but each one adds up to a character with a unique voice. Each of the people mentioned in his toasts contribute to this loveable rogue of a character and those he has lost along the way will have a profound impact on the reader.

Often when I read a book the voice I read it in is my own but in this case the voice in which I read had a very distinctive Irish accent. One of the strongest features of When All is Said is the clear picture it creates of the traditional features associated with Ireland.

The novel begins with a classified add for a rare coin with the person who placed it being willing to pay any amount for it. It then goes on to Maurice sat in the hotel bar contemplating his life and the changes in him as a physically and emotionally over the years.

“there’s me now in the corner, like the ‘feckin eejit who wouldn’t get his head out of shot. And what a head it is. It’s not often I look in the mirror these days. When your mother was alive I suppose I made a bit of an effort but sure what difference does it make now? I find it hard to look at myself. Can’t bear to see it- that edge, you know the one I mean – haven’t you been on the receiving end of it enough over the years.”

Before we are very far along into the story it becomes clear that all isn’t right with our seemingly jovial narrator. This is a man very much in the throws of grief, a man who has had a lot of experiences of bereavement in his life, but the loss of his wife is one he is unable to bear. There are very clear signs that he is contemplating ending his life such as selling the farm he has lived on all his life and giving away his dog to a family who don’t live locally and won’t ask questions.

When he gives away the dog, he almost changes his mind at the last minute but forces himself not to.

“Instead I kept on moving, mumbling away trying to block out the weight of another ending, another loss in this worn-out life of mine.”

One of the most poignant losses Maurice has faced is the loss of his brother and best friend Tony when he was still a young boy, a loss he has felt more keenly since his wife died two years previously.

“It’s his living presence I’ve missed the most since your mother left. And no amount of talking to him in my head can take the place of being able to see the man, to touch the skin and bone of him, to hear the him sup a pint in Hartigan’s. What I wouldn’t give for just one hour of his company. No need for much conversation at all. Our elbows at the counter. A bottle of stout each in front of us. Half empty glasses. Looking out at the town. Tapping our feet to the music and not having to pretend all is fine. Being allowed to be a feckin mess. The feeling of his pat on my back as he passes behind me to the john. Is it too much to ask for a simple resurrection?”

The above is one of many passages in which Anne Griffin ably demonstrates the secondary losses often felt and left unacknowledged when someone is grieving. This is just one of many reasons why I adored When All is Said.
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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this intriguing book...and what a that will grab you and make you read to the end...its not a violent book or horror but one about a mans life and 5 people wants to raise a glass to before the end of his life...

a compelling read that will keep you reading till the end, maurice is sat in the bar with a drink in front of him as he reminiscences about 5 people that were important to him during his lifetime, i found the bit about his dog upsetting as its one i can imagine many who have to give away a dog before you are ready...

loved how the author wrote and i felt it flowed really well and will be keeping an eye out for more of this authors works
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Widower Maurice sits at a bar in Ireland, raising toasts to the most important people in his life, from the brother who died so many years ago, to his late wife. His joys, tragedies and regrets are laid bare. A warm, powerful tale that’s hugely enjoyable to read. You’ll miss Maurice’s humour, straight-talking and honesty when you reach the end.
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This book appealed to me from the start promising a story of an 84 year old Maurice Hannigan, who, over the course of a Saturday night in June, orders five different drinks at the Rainford House Hotel in Ireland. With each drink, he toasts a person vital to him and who made an impact and through these people, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs. 'A tale of a single night. The story of a lifetime.'
This was a unique and compelling book that had me eagerly turning the pages until the end, I felt like I knew Maurice by the end and was sad to loose a friend. A very emotional book that I would definitely recommend. I would definitely read more by this talented author again.
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Maurice Hannigan is 84-year-olds and raising a toast to some of the most important people in his life. From his brother to his son, Hannigan tells the story of his life during five different drinks, and eventually will come to rest on the reason he's decided to finally share his stories by the end of the night.

This book is very much sitting beside a lonely old man in a country pub and accidentally becoming the ear for all of his tongue wagging. At first, you're a bit disgruntled as you'd rather just enjoy your pint rather than have to listen to him but eventually, before you know i,t, you're completely invested in his story and you want to know how everything ends (imagine as well, the people sitting at Forrest Gump's bus stop).

Maurice was a character I had to warm up to. At first I did find him a grumpy, slightly selfish oul sod but the more I read, I could see the good parts of him as well - how much he loved and cherished his wife, and how he behaved with Noreen. I do think the storyline around the gold coin was a bit of a non-story, and one that seemed to take a way a bit from the main storyline of Maurice's life tales. I honestly didn't care about the coin and the ending result of it all was disappointing and an anti-climax to say the least.

I did end up enjoying this story though, and people like a good chinwag then you may just enjoy Maurice's voice.
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A beautiful debut, I fell in love with both  the characters  and the story. I cried (a few times) and laughed, lots. It felt almost like coming home. I didn’t want it to end, so purposefully put it down, but couldn’t resist picking it back up. I loved the rich language coming through the main characters, as well as the colloquialisms, which I remember from my youth. Having an Irish father and travelling back to the West of Ireland every two years will do that to you.
Loved the book, read it, enjoy it, marvel in it. Enjoy its simple beauty, it is a rare find.
#netgalley #whenallissaid
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What a wonderful book, there are no tricks, no fancy literary craft just a beautiful  monologue from Maurice Hannigan looking back over his life.  It is full of emotion - love and sadness in almost equal amounts as Maurice makes a toast to the five people who have shaped his life.  The characterisation of Maurice, in particular,  is so well done you can visualise him sat at the bar.   I wonder who my five would be?  I would probably need more than 5.  This  is a really gentle but emotionally large narrative.
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84 year old Maurice has had enough of life as he knows it and so decides to do something about it.
Before his final act he goes to a hotel bar and toasts the lives of five people who changed his life and made him the man he is today.
Heartwarming read.
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A beautifully written, sometimes heart-breaking novel.  The elderly narrator looks back at his life and raises five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him over his lifetime.  The result is a thought-provoking and moving story of love and loss, family and relationships.  Haunting.
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I loved this book, my favourite read of the year! I read the whole book in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down!
I was there , with Maurice, throughout.
The characters were so well written and rounded. 
I look forward to Anne Griffin’s nest book
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I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest, indepedent review.

Sitting at a bar stool in Ireland, 84-year-old Maurice looks back at his life and raises a toast to the five people who meant the most to him.

A lovely Irish tale, following Maurice on one night as he reflects on his life and the people in it. However, although beautifully written, I found the book a bit heavy-going in places and struggled with it at times. I found Maurice went off-subject in his stories, though maybe this is just his character, but it meant I got a little lost in the story and found it jumped around a little too much for my liking.

As I got towards the end of the book, I could see how it was going to end, but I still found the ending beautifully emotional.
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I was a bit unsure about this at the start and I'm glad to say that I was wrong. This is a beautifully written book filled with bittersweet memories and Maurice is a character that will stay with me for a long time. I usually don't re read books but this is one I will be going back to again and again. This is the author's debut book and definitely has a talent for writing. I'm already looking forward to the next book, no  pressure lol. I would like to thank the publishers and netgalley for letting me have the book to review and the opinions expressed are entirely my views.
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A very interesting read which I really enjoyed. Thanks for the chance to read & review it. Highly recommended
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This book had been on my ‘ones to watch list’ so I was over joyed when I had the opportunity to review it from the publishers.

Following Maurice, an elderly Irish man who raises a toast to the 5 people that changed his life. This a joyful and yet sorrowful read at the same time. 
I felt so much pity for Maurice, he knew the wrongs he had committed in his life time and felt deep regret. That is ultimately what this story is about, regret and grief. 
The book missed the mark slightly for me, in that it didn’t impact me as emotionally as I would of wanted but it makes up for that with its intrigue. That is what kept me reading. Although Maurice is not a likeable character, having been selfish and wreckless and ignorant, I still wanted to know his story.  I am glad I read it, as it has been on my radar for a while. It was a great look into life, grief and end of life.
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When I picked this one up I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was a similar premise to ‘the 5 people you meet in heaven.’

The book follows Maurice an 84 year old man, as he toasts 5 people from his life.   He is talking to his son thoughout these 5 smaller stories and I enjoyed this writing style.

You learn about Maurice, from his reflections of his life through the 5 people he has chosen to toast.  His life has been an interesting one, I’m not sure entirely if he has been happy though or if he has made the people around him happy.

If like to thank the publisher, Netgalley and the author for the opportunity to read this title I exchange for a review.
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Thanks to NetGalley and to Sceptre for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
This is a beautiful novel. Its structure is simple and so is the plot. Written in the first person, this is the story of a man, Maurice Hannigan, a widower, who has come to a decision about what to do with the rest of his life. Having made that decision, it has come the time to explain why he has decided what he has. The novel is structured around his conversation with his son, Kevin, who lives in the USA and is not there in person; therefore it becomes a monologue, with an intended audience of one. We, the readers, act as his son’s stand-ins. Maurice, as we soon learn, has never been the talking kind, so this is a bit of a departure for him, probably because of the time of his life and because he is not eye-to-eye with the person he is addressing.
Maurice has booked the best room in the hotel and is drinking five toasts to the people who have had the most impact in his life. In the process of talking about them and their influence, we get to hear about his life and what made him who he is. He chooses carefully his drinks, measures his words, and also the mementos he has kept. He drinks ale and also his preferred drink, whisky, and shares photographs, a pipe, a coin, and plenty of memories. He toasts to his brother, who died of TB when he was very young, always protected him and was his role model; to the daughter who never was and has always remained present for him; to his wife’s sister, who spent most of her life in psychiatric hospitals, took to him from the first and played an important role in solving an interesting mystery; to his son, who always had different dreams but tried hard to keep in touch; and to his wife, the one and only, the person he cannot live without.
Through his toasts we learn a lot about Maurice, his world, and the changes in Ireland through the years: when he was young life was harsh for farmers, the owners of the big house could behave as if they owned the people around them, school was hard for those who could not learn at the normal rhythm, and a family feud could last for years. Ireland moves with the times, and we hear about his change of circumstances, but he finds it difficult to let go of his wish for revenge and his resentments, of his low self-confidence because he never did well with books (later on in life he realises he suffers from dyslexia), and especially, of his grief and bereavement. He has suffered many losses through life, and he has many regrets, although he has also done some good things, intentionally or not.
Maurice feels real and very familiar, and I think most readers will be reminded of somebody they know. He is not the most sympathetic character at first sight, although he has gone through a lot, and some of his decisions are harsh and mean-spirited. During the book we get to understand what has made him as he is and it is difficult not to feel touched by his narrative, even if we don’t have much in common with him. There are plenty of family secrets revealed, and he learns to let go of the hatred he held for most of his life. The author writes beautifully, and without using complex language manages to convey true feeling and emotions. She gives her character a recognisable and true voice, dry and sharp, with touches of black humour and always understated, even when talking about those dearest to him. There is a beautiful love story at the heart of this novel, and it is very difficult not to feel moved by it. As for the ending… I won’t discuss it in detail, but I don’t think it will come as a surprise to most readers, although what might be surprising is how we feel about it by then. 
Although the author is well-known, this is her first novel, and it is a thing of beauty, poetic and sincere. Here I share some examples of her writing:
It’s an awful thing, to witness your mother cry. You cannot cure nor mend nor stick a plaster on.
Forty-nine years ago, I met Molly, and only for fifteen minutes. But she has lived in this dilapidated heart of mine ever since.
I watched her skin survive the years, softly, folding upon itself. I touched it often, still hopelessly loving every bit of her, every line that claimed her, every new mark that stamped its permanency.
Loneliness, that fecker again, wreaking havoc on us mortals. It’s worse than any disease, gnawing away at our bones as we sleep, plaguing our minds when awake. 
These past two years have been rotten. I’ve felt the ache of her going in my very bones. Every morning, every hour of every day I’ve dragged her loss around with me. The worst thing has been the fear that I’ll wake one morning and she’ll be gone from my memory forever, and that, son, that, I just can’t do. 
This is a gorgeous book that touches on important subjects and deep feelings without going over the top and being sugary sweet. It is not a page turner plot-wise, and there isn’t much action (other than in some of the memories), so it will not suit readers who are looking for a fast plot. But anybody who loves a character-driven novel, enjoys savouring the quality and poetry of good writing and is looking for new authors will have a field day. I am going to follow Anne Griffin’s career with interest, and I expect to hear great things from her.
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Quite simply I loved this book in which you draw up up your stool at the bar beside 84 year old Maurice and listen while he tells us his life story, in his beguiling Irish lilt, over a few drinks. Each drink is dedicated to the important people in his life, and his story telling - via the pen of Anne Griffin - is utterly engaging.  His life, from rags to riches, is as entertaining as it is unpredictable. Maybe his ruthless drive to succeed, allied to brutal treatment as a youth, stifled his ability to express love and emotion to his family and friends but it surely never stopped him loving them. By the end I truly shared the pain and regret he so clearly felt and the way he finally expresses it brought tears to my eyes.  Unhesitatingly I give this wonderful book 5 stars!
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Oh but this book is lovely!

Maurice Hannigan has lived a good life and he raises a toast to five people who tell the story of this life.
A great way to tell a story but also beautifully written and so bittersweet. Beautiful.
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I did not expect this book to be so emotional - looking back I'm not sure why but this is a heartfelt, touching book. I was reminded of books like 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' as Maurice Hannigan, an old man, recounts his life through the people he wishes to hold a toast to, the people he wishes to really recognise, before he dies. He has led a simple life with its own heartaches and complexities which are recalled in a very natural way throughout the book. This is the kind of writing that looks simple but is actually very skillful because the author has been very controlled and known when to hold back and let her narrative speak for itself. It is a real joy to read.

The book is beautifully written - Anne Griffin writes with a beautiful simplicity that just has you lost within it, turning the pages and crying your heart out as some of her words go straight to your heart. I think the section that got me the most was the toast to Tony, but the book overall was just lovely.

I look forward to reading anything by this fresh Irish voice :)

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review.
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