Book Reviews

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

One of my favorite genres is literary fiction and one of my favorite publishers is St. Martin’s Press. When I saw that they were publishing literary fiction by an Irish author, I just HAD to hit request on NetGalley!

Goodreads synopsis:

When All Is Said“I’m here to remember–all that I have been and all that I will never be again.”

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?

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 powerful and poignantly laid bare.

Beautifully heart-warming and powerfully felt, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said and done.


Maurice Hannigan is a man of few words. He prefers being alone, he’s a farmer with great business sense, and feelings just aren’t for him. One evening, he settles down at a bar in his town’s hotel and raises toasts to five people who were the most important characters in his life. Through these toasts, we learn of the man Maurice was and the man he presents himself to be.

Griffin spins a story that, on the surface, seems to be about the five people Maurice is toasting, but really they’re about the man himself. And therein lies the beauty of this novel. This tear-inducing story lays bare every emotion Maurice has felt–joy, love, sadness, compassion–and can make a reader feel real invested in the story.

While the book is short at 330 pages, you need to take your time reading it. It, after all, is the story of 84 years of things left unsaid. Take your time and settle in for the ride.

I was a little thrown off by the ending. You’ll see it coming and yet you wouldn’t want to believe it. But there’s no other way such a poignant story could’ve ended.

Read this book if you like literary fiction, stories about families and their secrets, and character-driven novels.

Rating: 4 out of 4


~ Shruti

Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

9 thoughts on “When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

  1. Lovely review, Shruti. A 330 pages book is not small-sized, not at all. Most of the books I read are of similar size and books with more pages than that are big ones for me 😀 I am glad that you enjoyed this book. Seem like an interesting read. Reminds me of A Man Called Ove.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s