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  • When All Is Said

  • By: Anne Griffin
  • Narrated by: Niall Buggy
  • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,125 ratings)

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When All Is Said cover art

When All Is Said

By: Anne Griffin
Narrated by: Niall Buggy
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Summary

Five toasts. Five people. One lifetime.

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.

©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) 

What listeners say about When All Is Said

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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.

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24 people found this 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.

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14 people found this 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.

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12 people found this 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.

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6 people found this helpful

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Lovely

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

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5 people found this helpful

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A toast to Life


This book gentle envelopes you over the chapters so you feel you know Maurice and his family intimately.

Mairice tells of the significant and influencing people in his life and toasts each of them, Each person allows you a little bit deeper into his life.

The last part had me in tears, but not in sorrow, but of a man who reflected on his mistakes and triumphs. Maurice to me is a brave man who makes a decision before it is taken from him.

Lastly this book comes highly recommended, with the outstanding narration by Niall Buggy taking it to another level.

Its up there in my top 10 books of all time.

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4 people found this helpful

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Best book ever

I have read and listen to hundreds of books and never given any sort of review . Good or bad. Had to for this one . Never enjoyed one so much. It was from a man from a different generation told so honestly . Very funny and sad all together. I’m sad to be finished .

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3 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Loved this book. Loved the narrator.
Life, love and regret. So sad it's finished. Will definitely listen to it again in the future. I feel it will stay with me though.

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3 people found this helpful

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Wow

Incredible book, well written and the narrator was incredible, what a great voice. The book brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. Would recommend to anyone

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Superb

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

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3 people found this helpful