The All of It by Jeannette Haien

Published: 1986 Harper Collins 1. First lines. 2. Cover 3. Man fishing [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr Original image cropped.

Father Declan de Loughry is told a story by Enda, wife of Kevin Dennehy, who has just died. Enda is reticent about divulging the whole story because it contains a sin. Father Declan considers the story whilst salmon-fishing.

“I’ll tell the all of it now, Father.”

BOOK SNAPS: The LA Times thought this was “a curious work; self-indulgent and somewhat awkward”, but this reader found it to be a simply told, but deep and heartfelt story. As Ann Patchett says it is “a deceptively simple story that resonates with the power of a modern-day myth”. And Kirkus agrees that it has “a quiet unpretentiousness of manner that successfully keeps melodrama at bay work together to make this a small polished stone of storytelling, though without doubt in a deeply well-worked vein. Slight but loving, and often commanding in its subtlety.”


“One thing I’ve learned, Father–that in this life it’s best to keep the then and the now and the what’s-to-be as close together in your thoughts as you can. It’s when you let gaps creep in, when you separate out the intervals and dwell on them, that you can’t bear the sorrow.”

Author: Jeannette Haien

Awards: Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction (1987)

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