When All is Said

Anne Griffin | Fiction 2019

336 pages


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.

Highly recommended.


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