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When All is Said

by Anne Griffin

Irish farmer Maurice looks back on his life - the intense bond he had with his beloved brother Tony, his wife Sadie and others. There are things he regrets, and as he addresses his absent son, while enjoying glasses of beer, we get insight into his emotional life. A lost rare coin that affects his life and his family's is the red thread running through the story. This novel is written with great empathy and impressed me in all its simplicity.

Extract

‘Ah now, Maurice, that isn't what I was saying at all. And no one is laughing at you, either.'
‘Oh yes they are. Joe Brady called me a dumbo yesterday when I got the spelling wrong.’
‘So that's why you hit him,' he laughed, impressed. 'He's no feckin' genius anyway. He can't even tie his laces for feck sake. And have you seen the state of his ears? I mean no man with ears that stick out like that has a right to call anyone a dumbo.’
Despite myself, I smiled.
'Come on, Big Man. We'll figure this out, OK? Me and you, right. Me and you against the world, yeah?'
He got me in the gentlest headlock and ruffled my hair.
'You'll be grand.'
But I wasn't. And every morning after, they had to pull me kicking and screaming from my bed. My father was pushed to limits that were not naturally him
‘Get out to blazes, ya pup.'
He pulled at me until there was nothing left in my grip of the leg of the bed and I gave way.

Parallels

Stoner by John Williams
The Absolutist by John Boyne
 

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