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When All Is Said

Narrated by: Niall Buggy
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (218 ratings)
Regular price: £21.99
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Summary

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

Five toasts, five people, five memories.  

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, an Irish farmer. Over the course of a Saturday night in June, he orders five drinks at the Rainsford House Hotel, and with each he toasts a key person from his life: his adored older brother; his troubled sister-in-law; his daughter of 15 minutes; his son far off in America; and his late, much missed wife. Through these people, the ones who have left him behind, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs.   

Exquisitely written and powerfully felt, When All Is Said promises to be the next great Irish novel.

©2019 Anne Griffin (P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

"An extraordinary novel, a poetic writer, and a story that moved me to tears." (John Boyne)

 "A hugely enjoyable, engrossing novel, a genuine page-turner." (Donal Ryan) 

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A Life in Five Chapters

I once heard George RR Martin express pity for people who never read novels "because they only lead a single life". By contrast he suggested that a well written novel allowed the reader to walk in another person's footsteps and experience (for a few hours) an entirely different life.

Of course the rule doesn't apply to every novel but this book helps prove the wisdom of the epigram. In the course of five rhetorical toasts to his nearest and dearest an elderly Irish farmer relives the highs and lows of his life. There's no great drama but bags of emotional truth, a minor mystery and some good jokes.

Niall Buggy provides a spellbinding performance as the curmudgeonly narrator and although I've only just finished the book it feels like one of those novels which I will return to in my mind in years to come. I understand it to be a debut novel but it is an incredibly assured and authentic portrayal of an ordinary life which can stand toe to toe with the best of John McGahern, Alistair MacLeod or Kent Haruf. My life is better for having read it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Engrossing.

Loved the story, loved the narrator. One man's life story of living in rural Ireland during the 20th century. Amusing sometimes with some sadness too. I wish it wasn't finished I enjoyed it so much.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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What a superb reading!

I first heard of this author and this book on Graham Norton's end-of-year radio show, where he and Maria McErlane choose their cultural highlights of the year; Graham did mention that this wasn't even out yet and he'd read an advance copy and loved it. I immediately pre-ordered the audiobook after reading the description, and wow, what an incredible achievement (especially for a debut novel!), matched by the faultless performance (it's not a narration, it is a performance!) of Niall Buggy as Maurice. It reminded me of my Grandad, especially in his later years, imparting anecdotes as we played Cribbage or Bridge.

I could have sat and listened to this all in one go, it was so absorbing and so well delivered in all respects. It makes you feel like you're in a fireside seat, listening to the logs crackle as you have the most intimate and memorable conversation of your life. The central conceit keeps you guessing, anyway, as once you've heard about Maurice's youth and the mark it left, you wonder who or what else has made such an indelible impression on him throughout his life that he wants to toast to it at the end of it all - and whether he's recording a suicide note, or merely imagining a conversation, the thought of someone listening giving him the impetus to round out his story.

As it was, I savoured this, listening to a chapter a day during my early morning routine - in the cold, dark of winter, it felt ultra apt. I recommend this to all who enjoy novels which explore our humanity without gimmicks or hooks - just us, as we are, in all our guts and glory.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Superb

This is such a moving story. Read beautifully by Niall Buggy. Such a sensitive understanding of human frailty.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous in every way

I loved this book by Anne Griffin and it was enriched by the soothing narration of Niall Buggy. The five act story structure worked well and tied together the fragments of the protagonist’s life as he faces its end. His soliloquy’s are rich, reflective and wistfully melancholic. The work is beautifully descriptive and I will read/ listen again and again I’m sure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Lovely

Such a sad story ...... so well written I could have been sitting beside Maurice in the pub.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

Just loved it , the reader was so lovely perfect voice , made you laugh made you cry

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant!

What an excellent book, and made all the more so by the fantastic narrator. I didn’t want it to end.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

The best book I've listened to this year! Niall Buggy is a beautiful narrator and brings each character to life wonderfully.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Super book

This is a wonderful book, beautifully written and expertly narrated. It's warm, surprising, funny and full of feeling. There may be tears, there certainly was for me. Absolutely loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful