The All of It

The All of ItA Sleeper Hit When First Published In 1986, Jeannette Haien S Exquisite, Beloved First Novel Is A Deceptively Simple Story That Has The Power And Resonance Of Myth The Story Begins On A Rainy Morning As Father Declan De Loughry Stands Fishing In An Irish Salmon Stream, Pondering The Recent Deathbed Confession Of One Of His Parishioners Kevin Dennehy And His Wife, Enda, Have Been Sweetly Living A Lie For Some 50 Years, A Lie The Full Extent Of Which Father Declan Learns Only When Enda Finally Confides The All Of It Her Tale Of Suffering Mesmerizes The Priest, Who Recognizes That It Is Also A Tale Of Sin And Scandal, A Transgression He Cannot Ignore The Resolution Of His Dilemma Is A Triumph Of Strength And Empathy That, As Benedict Kiely Has Said, Makes The All Of It A Book To Remember. This novella won a prize for first fiction when it was originally published It is a rather simple story told in gleaming and very picturesque prose Has a limited number of characters, a man, a woman and a priest and the story is most told by the woman to the priest There is some moral interplay here, because as a priest there is a clear line between right and wrong and not much grey, yet here in this little Irish village things may not be what they se
This was a re read for my book club I had only rated it two stars before I m upping it to three, based on the writing and how perfectly the author gets the language But the story still did little to nothing for me. When this won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction in 1987, the author was in her sixties It s since been championed by Ann Patchett, who contributed a Foreword to this 2011 edition Father Declan de Loughry, fishing for salmon, reflects on the recent death of parishioner Kevin Dennehy Before he died, Kevin admitted that he and Enda were never properly married Yet Enda begs the priest to approve a death notice calling Kevin her beloved husband, promising she ll then explain the all of it the very good reason they never married As she tells her full story, which occupies the bulk of the novella, Father Declan tries to strike a balance between the moral high ground and human compassion Enda s initial confession on page 27 is explosive, but the rest of this quiet book doesn t ever live up to it I was reminded of Mary Costello s Academy Street, a successful short book about an Irish life Favorite passage One thing I ve learned, Father that in this life
Jeannette Haien s first novel is getting a new wave of attention these days because novelist Ann Patchett is raving about it on her current book tour I think many readers will be disappointed It s really a novella or a long short story, and like those shorter genres favors characters over plot The All of It is basically the study of two characters Enda, the beautiful 60 something widow whose husband has gone to his grave carrying their big secret, leaving her to reveal it to their confessor, and Father Declan, the 60 something priest who s torn between his priestly duty and manly needs as he hears the story The secret itself isn t much of a shock, and the reaction of many readers will be, That s it Here s what happens in the
The author was in her middle sixties when it was published to good reviews but few sales by David Godine Harper s Perennial Library republished it in 1988 again it went out of print Perhaps it s to the credit our country s advance in literacy that it was picked up again for this Harper Perennial paperback, two years ago, with a warm foreword by Ann Patchett, who likens its urgent, disciplined, fascinating package, running fewer than 150 pages, to that of The Great Gatsby Miss Lonelyhearts So Long, See You Tomorrow each a world in miniature I haven t read that third title let me substitute Carson McCullers s The Ballad of the Sad Caf.To describe the plot is to give its MacGuffin away, but the author does that anyhow after the first sixth of the novel It concerns Thomas and Enda Dunn, who have lived together as man and wife in Dennery, County Mayo, as hidebound Catholic a setting as imaginable for nearly fifty years, well respected for their simplicity and hard work, and sympathized with for their lack of progeny.Tom dies having revealed the immediate reason for this but before getting to the proximate cause, persuading Father Declan, warm but strict, to fil
I read this book in one sittingnot so much because it was a great story or the plot was captivating but just because it was so easy too read I reluctantly gave it 3 stars only because I couldn t give it 2 1 2 I guess I was not a big fan because I feel the author talks about things for the sake of shock and which she knows nothing about when she says something about Americans and the English wrecking a harbor town by making it a popula
This is a little gem of a novel which talks about hidden desires, and silent lives The exploration of love, loss,longing in numerous dimensions. This was a very little book that I picked up and started reading at a thrift store About ten pages in I thought I should probably buy it It s difficult to cram a whole story into 150 pages, especially when a portion of them are about fly fishing, but Haien pulls it off.This is, essentially, the story of a priest, Father Declan, who, upon the death of one of his parishoners, Kevin Dennehy, discovers that he has been living a lie with his wife, Enda, for the past fifty years.It s really a poignant little piece about morality but since I don t have many of those I enjoyed this book for it s story Enda and Kevin s story was the bulk of the book, taking about about seventy pages, and that was by far my favorite part of this book Declan s parts consisted of, mostly, moral dilemmas and fly fishing I don t particularly care for either But I also greatly enjoy Declan s ob
This is one of those unassuming little gems that you run across once in a while It is set in Ireland, or less in the current time Its structure is interesting It s a story within a story within a story The first level is a fishing trip that one of the protagonists, Father Declan de Loughry, has taken the day after one of his parishioners, Kevin Dennehy, has died As he fishes he ruminates about the previous day when he and the dead man s wife, Enda, kept watch by the body That s the second story The third story is the one Enda tells him, while they are waiting for the mourners to arrive, of her l
A very Irish tale, set in the days following a man s death as he has been unable to complete his final confession with the village priest It was obviously a confession of import, now left to his wife to reveal the story that follows is one of sorrow,

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  • Paperback
  • 160 pages
  • The All of It
  • Jeannette Haien
  • English
  • 03 February 2017
  • 9780060971472