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When All Is Said by Anne Griffin | Friends of Bookends Reviews

Five toasts. Five people. One lifetime.

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.

We shared Anne Griffin’s poignant and heartwarming debut When All Is Said with our new reviewer panel, and were blown away by their responses to this very special book.

Keep reading to find out what the Friends of Bookends had to say about the extraordinary tale of Maurice Hannigan…


I loved everything about When All Is Said. I loved the poetic quality of the writing. I loved the iterative appearance of the gold coin. I loved the raw emotion that resonates behind every perfectly selected word. But most of all I loved the portrayal of Maurice. I didn’t so much read a book in When All Is Said as find myself seated with a much loved friend, Maurice, and listening, mesmerised, to his life story.’

‘Anne Griffin has such an immaculate turn of phrase that her writing is just gorgeous … her style was as rich as the Middleton Whiskey Maurice drinks.’

When All Is Said is a poignant, emotional and utterly brilliant tour de force and I can’t recommend it highly enough.’


‘Wow, I was blown awayWhen All Is Said is a really beautiful and intimate portrait of one person’s life. Someone who perhaps seems fairly uninteresting on the outside but who has lived an incredible life, defying all odds to achieve great things.’

‘Anne Griffin has created an incredibly captivating story, and by recounting Maurice’s life in the format she has – five memories centering on the five most important people he crossed paths with – a very unique one too. It was engrossing, beautiful and heartbreaking, and I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.’


I loved this book … The concept of the story is brilliant, everyone can identify with looking back on their lives, the regrets, the good times.’

‘Anne Griffin paints a vivid portrait … The language is poetic, exquisite.’

‘An astonishingly good book whose characters will remain in my memory for a long time. A standout debut.’

Angela N

Anne Griffin has produced an extraordinary tale

With characters who leap at you from the first page, grabbing your heart and refusing to let go, this book deserves to be a big success. Well done, Anne Griffin, you have created something truly special.’


‘On the surface it seems to be about five toasts to five people evoking five memories of all. It is so much more… a hymn and prayer to important well loved people with whom the subject of the novel has lived and lost in one way or the other and a valedictory speech as he decides what to do at the end of his life.’

It is the sort of novel which leaves this reader contemplating her own feelings and being glad to have read the book.’


‘Through stories of love and death we lived the lives of Maurice and his extended family. Beautifully and elegantly written’

Anne Griffin’s extraordinary debut When All Is Said is published on the 24th of January, and available to pre-order now!