Anne Griffin | Fiction 2019
This is our Deschutes County community read for 2020. As always, the selection committee did a fine job. This is the 17th year we have had a community read, and I haven’t missed one. When All is Said is a short book, and a very sweet read. I cried at the end of the first chapter, and again at the end of the last. I think it is quite a testimonial to the author to have imbued such caring in me, the reader, that after just one chapter, I am emotionally affected.
This is Maurice’s story. 84 years old, each of the five middle chapters in When All is Said is a toast to someone very important in his life. Through these toasts, we learn his history and the history of his family. The toasts are to: his older brother Tony; the baby he and Sadie lost, Molly; his sister-in-law Noreen; his son Kevin; and, of course, his recently deceased wife, Sadie.
His life, which is in Ireland, is not all that extraordinary or unusual, yet Griffin tells it with such grace and sensitivity, it is moving. A beautiful and insightful book about grief, love, legacy, and joy.
This is another astounding debut novel. I wonder what will be next from Anne Griffin. She was supposed to present here in Bend in early May, flying over from Ireland. I know that will not happen now. I look forward to seeing what we substitute. I hope there is a video or a Zoom with her.