Today I have a review of When All Is Said by Anne Griffin now available from St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books!
Before I even knew exactly what I was reading, who Maurice was, and what type of story he was telling me, he felt familiar. I connected instantly to him on a deeply resonant level, and that made the book for me.
I had to read When All Is Said in bits and chunks because it felt so personal. I thought of my grandparents and how they must have reflected on their lives. I thought of my late beloved great aunts who have recently passed away and led full, meaningful, big love kinds of lives. I thought of my aging parents and how they have a full lifetime on which to reflect, as unfortunately, their ailments seem to add and never take away, much as Maurice’s do. The connection was to one family member in particular, and in these pages I found both pain and comfort.
Maurice’s story could be any of our stories. He puts his life out there in an open and upfront way. He easily could tell us only the highs, but he carefully and thoughtfully revisits the lows; some with regret and others with firm resolve. He is as complex as they come, but as I felt his heart, I had to keep reminding myself that this is Maurice’s story, and not one of my relatives. I was that connected.
I read many pages through tears, and sometimes my sadness was overbearing, but again, I know my personal connection played a part. In some ways this book was therapeutic for me, having me think about this reflection on life.
In a nutshell, When All Is Said is a beautifully-told story of Maurice’s life as he tells it. He is toasting those most impactful in his life and telling us their importance to him. He has regrets, but he has so many moments in which he shines, and I am not certain he knows that because he’s so humble.
I usually do my brief synopsis first, but instead I addressed how When All Is Said made me feel. Honestly, I’m crying now as I write this review, and that’s unusual for me. I know not everyone will have the intense connection I did to the subject matter, but if you do, wow. My words are at a loss here other than to suggest you read the book.
I want to sincerely thank Anne Griffin for Maurice’s story.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
A tale of a single night. The story of a lifetime.
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?
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.
Beautifully written, powerfully felt, When All Is Said promises to be the next great Irish novel.
Have you read When All Is Said, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR