When All is Said

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

If I could give this book 10 stars I would, a beautifully written story about Maurice an 84yr old man who sits alone in a hotel toasting a drink to 5 people who have made a difference in his life and tells the story of his life up until now in the bar.

Maurice's has moments of darkness and light, of love and laughter, of sadness and regret. 

It’s such a powerful book and one that will resonate so deeply within you; for after all it only ends one way and we all have regrets and things we wish we could change, things we wish we said and didn’t.

It’s stunning, a masterpiece and one that will stay with me for quite some time.

Here’s to Maurice!
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Interesting book. Wasn't quite sure where we were going, but ended up with tales from his past which kept me wanting to read more
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Have you ever read a book where the character becomes almost real to you? Maybe they are just really well written, perhaps the character thinks so much like you it feels like the writer got in your head? Or they remind you so much of someone you feel sure the writer must have known that person? Well for me Maurice Hannigan is so like someone I knew, someone very dear but no longer with us that I instantly fell in love with this book. I spent an inordinate amount of time wiping tears off my Kindle. 

This isn't a book where a massive amount happens, its a story about life and its joy and regrets. Maurice's narration is the very best of Irish storytelling - if you have ever propped up a bar with a proper Irish gentleman you'll know they can spin a tale from nothing over a whisky or two. And I wish I could be in that bar with Maurice or the lost Irish gentleman he reminded me so much of. This one will stay with me for a while.
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*** ARC provided by Netgalley via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ***

During the course of a single night Maurice Hannigan gives us the story of his life. Told through the memories of and appreciation of five special people in his life who he is raising a toast to. This book feels a little like the five people you meet in heaven as we learn what each of Maurice’s five have taught him through his life & well as his regrets and the impact we often have on others without being aware of it.

I loved this book and think it was beautifully written. There seemed to be no secret where we were heading as the night draws on but do we need a twist in a story like this? I don’t think that’s the point. Great story telling and a book I’ll recommend to others.
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When I began to read 'When All is Said' I thought I'd made a mistake. I'd expected a heart-warming tale and yet here was an 84 year old bloke, sitting on a barstool, getting slowly and deliberately drunk. Not my kind of novel.
But as I read on my heart truly warmed to Maurice Hannigan, with all his flaws and resentments. As he raises the five toasts which provide the stucture of Anne Griffin's debut novel, we get to see the love and kindness which he hides behind his gruff exterior. And with each of the five characters he toasts - his brother Tony,  his daughter Molly, his sister-in-law Noreen, his sin Kevin and finally his wife Sadie - we share the lives and losses that have shaped his life. 
A wonderful read, page-turning in the very best way.
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I was intrigued by the chapter openings as I started to read this lovely Irish novel. We see the world through the storyteller's eyes, from his childhood through to his eighties, and you can't help but like him even though he has made some questionable decisions in the past. Will definitely be looking out for Anne Griffin's next work.
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A quintessentially Irish novel that takes you through the life of one man as he looks back at his life and particularly his regrets and family tragedies. 

He tells five stories, toasting five people who impacted him the most. I did find that at times elements of the story were a little too slow for me and I struggled to stay engaged. And whilst the ending was also clear to me from the outset, this didn't take away from the emotional impact.
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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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I'm sat crying with a breaking heart after finishing this book. What a truly beautiful story, I felt every word as if Maurice was sat beside me. I loved every word of this book and I feel it will stay with me.
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I love the premise of this book.  A man reflecting back on his life and those who had influence over it.  There was a good mix of laughter and good times and those filled with tears.  An original idea for the book that I really enjoyed.
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I must admit something, as weird as this may sound, but every time that my mind drifts to this truly exquisite and beautiful novel, all I can hear is the opening bars of Piano Man. It is a truly strange experience, almost as though Billy Joel is sitting at a miniature piano in a bar in the back of my brain; ready to regale me with the stories of the strangers that make up the shadows of my everyday experience. The ones who could bring so much to my life, but don’t; the ones who could be my found-family, but are not given the opportunity.
It is probably because both pieces illicit the same feelings within me; the warmth of the familiar, the melancholia of memory.
When All Is Said is a beautiful and reluctant tribute to the people, however fleeting, in the protagonist’s life who have made him who he is; whose very presence, or the love or hate they had for him, shaped his actions, for better or for worse. Maurice, a gruff Irish businessman getting on in years, is the kind of protagonist whose story is almost never told in life; a man of few words, reluctant to express the love to the people in his life who so clearly deserve it; whose thoughts are filled with words not readily or easily expressed. Because of this, in the creation of such an introspective novel, Griffin managed to form a character who is authentic, complex, and charming; one that is utterly, unmistakably human. 
Here is to you Maurice. For all of your griefs, your loves, your regrets; the things that make you beautiful, but also for the things that make you less so.
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I bumped When All Is Said up the TBR pile after reading so many fantastic reviews and I am so pleased that I did.

This is a book based on a wonderful love story that takes you on a journey from childhood to marriage and through to old age. It is brimming with love, loss, commitment and regrets.

A wonderful story told from the perspective of Maurice who sits down in the very significant Rainford House Hotel one night and tells us his story accompanied by his five chosen drinks to toast the most important people in his life. 

I loved this book and just had to keep reading, I chose this to read whilst on holiday and picked it back up every time I sat down and got up early as I was so keen to keep reading. A truly lovely story that will leave you with all of the emotions and feelings.
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A captivating story of reminiscences, happy and sad told through the voice of Irishman Maurice Hannigan. Beautifully written with many poignant descriptions. Highly recommended. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher, Sceptre for an ARC.
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Maurice Hannigan has lived a good life into his 80s. As he sits at the bar in the Rainford House Hotel, he orders 5 different drinks. With each drink he toasts one person that has shaped and influenced his life: his older brother, his daughter, his sister-in-law, his son and his wife. Each toast tells us the story of Maurice and how each of these people impacted on Maurice and his decisions through his life. This story is woven into another story, Maurice's complicated relationship with the Rainford House Hotel and a certain gold coin. 

This was a very poignant story, I found myself crying several times throughout the book from the beginning. It's nostalgic without being overly so, there's a certain bittersweet quality the whole thing. Griffin has a way with words that really pulled on my heartstrings. The book has a certain shade of Irishness to it, found especially the early years of Maurice's life, as well as simple turns of phrases throughout the whole story. Maurice could easily be someone you know, an old man full of proud moments and regrets, unable to say how they truly feel to their loved ones, not used to showing their emotions. 

I did find that even though I really enjoyed reading it, I wasn't compelled to pick it up and devour it. I don't know if it's because I simply wanted to savour it, if it was a reading slump or if it was because I found it rambled on a bit. I think the secondary story with the gold coin made it drag a bit. If there was a tighter edit then this mightn't have been the case (speaking of editing, it did crack me up a bit to see Dunnes Stores edited to Dunne's Stores). Overall though, it's a book I can see myself thinking about quite a bit over the next few weeks, I feel like it's stuck in my head!
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A gentle, easy read with a strong central voice and well-observed character portraits. I didn't connect as well with the present day framework as the individual reminiscences but enjoyed the novel overall.
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Thank you Netgalley for my copy of When All Is Said by Anne Griffin. The story of Maurice truly broke my heart. There were so many times where the tears would not stop pouring. When All Is Said is a story of an elderly man called Maurice Hannigan, looking back over his life. We start in the formative years when he was at school. The old fashioned Ireland was a hard place to grow up especially if you struggled with reading and learning as much as Maurice did. We learn a lot later he struggled because of his dyslexia. He is told to give up education at a tender age and start working. It's there he received the most brutal treatment at the hands of his employers son. What I found emotional was the repetitive and toxic behaviour of the employers son, he beats Maurice as his father beats him. We see the pain and heartbreak Maurice went through when his much loved brother passes away. We recount lots of memories of loss, love and all the emotions e experience over a lifetime. We see Maurice think about the mistakes he's made. He talks of his daughter, he blames himself for her death as instead of immediately taking his wife to hospital he went and closed a business deal. By the time  had made it to hospital the unborn baby was pronounced dead. He talks of his regret and his guilt. 

This is a thought provoking, undeniably Irish and profound read. If I could offer the book more than 5 starts I would. The author has written a beautiful story, one to be very proud of.
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A lovely lilting book beautifully told in a voice that couldn’t be anything but Irish. I was on holiday when I read it and already in a relaxed mood and this book just made me smile. Sad in parts but always poetically written.
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This book stayed with me a long time after I finished it. Three words sum up ‘When All is Said’ by Anne Griffin. Masterful. Emotional. Funny. It is the story of Maurice Hannigan as he sits at a bar one evening. He drinks a toast to five people and tells the story of his life. It is one of those Irish novels which makes your emotions tingle and say ‘yes, it is like that’, which makes tears prick your eyes and laughter rise in your chest. This is Griffin’s debut novel but she is an accomplished prizewinning writer who knows how to tell a story. It is unbearingly touching and will, without fail, make you cry.
Maurice is in the bar of the Rainsford House Hotel in Rainsford, Co Meath, Ireland. At the beginning we don’t know why he is there, the first few pages are an introduction to Maurice, how he feels his age, as he conducts an imaginary conversation with his son Kevin who lives in America. His first drink is a bottle of stout and as he drinks, he tells the story of his brother Tony and their childhood. A key incident in this section has reverberations throughout Maurice’s life and throughout this novel; a gentle reminder that we all may grow old, we may live in the same place or move away, but our childhood and our actions stay with us. We are introduced to Emily, owner of the hotel, and Svetlana, barmaid. Griffin has a talent with sense of place; she makes the hotel come alive. 
Four more drinks follow. For Molly, a glass of Bushmills 21-year old malt. For Noreen, a bottle of stout. For Kevin, a rare whiskey, Jefferson’s Presidential Select. And for his wife Sadie, Maurice drinks a glass of Midleton whiskey. “Svetlana places my final drink down in front of me: Midleton, you can’t fault it. Majestic stuff. I look at it like she has just handed me the keys to a new harvester. It’s the autumn colours that get me. It’s the earth of it, the trees, the leaves, the late evening sky.”
As each story is told, Anne Griffin weaves in the present day so the two strands blend and the past explains Maurice’s situation, why he feels as he does, why he longs for what he longs for. This is a beautiful Irish novel about love, dyslexia, grumpiness, family, bullying, forgiveness and whiskey. I loved it and didn’t want it to end.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/
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I was completely bowled over by this monologue of an Irish farmer raising a toast to five pivotal people in his life. Doesn’t sound promising? Don’t be fooled, this is the warmest, most poignant, funny, sad story I have read in many a long month. Surprised it is a female author as she writes this man so well. Please read this and admire.
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A beautifully written book and thought provoking. 
The main character Maurice is the narrator of the book who draws you into his life and world while toasting the five people who have impacted his life the most. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey he took me on.
Though emotional and sad at times the book was still a refreshing read. 
This book will stay with me for a long time yet.
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