Dans une bourgade du comté de Meath, Maurice Hannigan, un vieux fermier, s’installe au bar du Rainsford House Hotel. Il est seul, comme toujours – sauf que, ce soir, rien n’est pareil : Maurice, à sa manière, est enfin prêt à raconter son histoire. Il est là pour se souvenir — de tout ce qu’il a été et de tout ce qu’il ne sera plus. Au fil de la soirée, il veut porter cinq toasts aux cinq personnes qui ont le plus compté pour lui. Il lève son verre à son grand frère Tony, à l’innocente Noreen, sa belle-soeur un peu timbrée, à la petite Molly, son premier enfant trop tôt disparu, au talent de son fils journaliste qui mène sa vie aux États-Unis, et enfin à la modestie de Sadie, sa femme tant aimée, partie deux ans plus tôt. Au fil de ces hommages, c’est toute une vie qui se révèle dans sa vérité franche et poignante…
Five toasts. Five people. One lifetime.
‘I’m here to remember — all that I have been and all that I will never be again.’
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 powerfully and poignantly laid bare.
Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said.
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Here is just a small selection of that praise that the novel has enjoyed since it was made available to readers, reviewers and fellow authors…
‘Griffin’s portrait of an Irish octogenarian provides a stage for the exploration of guilt, regret, and loss, all in the course of one memorable night.’ — Kirkus
‘Anne Griffin’s debut novel is a must read. Beautifully observed, masterful story telling – stunning!’ — Graham Norton
‘Maurice’s humor, his keen observations on class and family, and his colloquial language, as well as Griffin’s strong sense of place, create the feeling of a life connected to many others by strands of affection and hatred.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘An extraordinary novel, a poetic writer, and a story that moved me to tears… There is something special here.’ — John Boyne
‘The most impressive aspects of this first novel from the pen of prize-winning short-story writer Anne Griffin are its rich, flowing prose, its convincing voice, and its imaginative and clever structure. She has complete mastery of her quite complex plot, and manages to imbue her sizeable cast of diverse characters with life and energy… Griffin is a writer of unusual confidence and authority, and a welcome arrival to the literary scene.’ — Irish Times
‘Pitch-perfect prose… Moving and beautifully written, this is a wonderfully assured debut.’ — Mail on Sunday
‘Beautiful. Intimate. Tearful. Aching and lyrical. So simply and beautifully told.’ — Louise Penny
‘It’s all beautifully done; a tale told in the plain but poetic prose of a man who recognises the tragic truths gleaned from a life of love and loss. A gem of a book.’ 5* — Sunday Express
‘A proper tear-jerker, but one that will ultimately leave you feeling hopeful.’ — Grazia