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The All of It by Jeanette Haien
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The All of It

by Jeanette Haien

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Short novel from 1986, by an American concert pianist, set in rural Ireland. The crux of the story is told via just-widowed Enda's "confession" to Father Declan, who listens in rapt attention to her brisk telling of her life. The sins of the father (hers) certainly applies to her plight in life, so that the reader quickly sympathizes with, and possibly admires, the hard-working determination of she and Kevin. But the story is also of Father Declan, whose weariness in life is portrayed in his soaked pursuit along the salmon-river, as well as in his conflicted emotions as he hears Enda. Sharp, evocative prose, though perhaps a bit draggy during her recounting. ( )
  JamesMScott | Jan 28, 2017 |
Sweet and deep at the same time. A small story, well told, of innocence, desire, longing. And fishing. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
One of the books on the "recommended reading" list I received from Ann Patchett at this year's ALA conference. The analogy of wrestling with the fish and wrestling with emotions (especially the forbidden kind) was an exceptional way to capture the core of this story. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
I found the story intriguing and a bit disturbing. (Isn't that what everyone's story is?) I came away unsettled, with questions about how God allows some things and how He handles what I would call "sticky situations." Reminds me somehow of my reaction to Andrew Greeley's book "God Game" many years ago. ( )
  Desdelyn | Jan 13, 2016 |
I don't recall where I came across a reference to this book. Short, simple story with emotional impact. ( )
  ingrid98684 | Dec 31, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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For Ernest Ballard
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Thomas Dunn, the head ghillie at the Castle, wasn't telling Father Declan anything he didn't already know: the river too high and wild from all the rains, and the salmon, therefore, not moving, just lying n the bottom, not showing themselves at all, and the midges terrible, and only the two days left to the season so of course all but the least desirable of the river-beats, number Four, was let already; "and Frank and Peter'll be ghillieing for the Americans stayin' at the Castle, Father, so I'll have to give you Seamus O'Connor and he's hardly worth the pay and that on top of the twenty pounds for the beat and you know yourself, Father, how beat Four is after a rainfall such as we've been having, the piers awash and the banks slippery as grease.
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Author's Note: In Ireland, stretches of a salmon-river which run through privately owned land are divided by the owner into sections, called "beats." Beats are let (rented) by the owner, by the day, to an angler. The angler is called the "rod." A "ghillie" (or "gillie") is a servant who attends to the rod.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060971479, Paperback)

Soaked by a miserable rain, Father Declan de Lowry swats midges and unsuccessfully casts for salmon while mulling the deathbed confession of a parishioner from the tiny Irish village of Roonatellin. The good priest is frantic to know why Kevin Dennehy refused to the end to marry Enda, who lived as his wife for decades with none suspecting their sin. When pressed, Kevin would only say, "there's some explanations that get you nowhere." That leaves it to Enda, an Irish Scheherazade, to breathlessly tell Father "the all of it," a wild, eyebrow-raising tale that meanders like sheep on the narrow roads. Her enthusiasm and Jeannette Haien's musical, evocative phrasing sweep this winning, humorous novel along.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:22 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Soaked by a miserable rain, Father Declan de Lowry swats midges and unsuccessfully casts for salmon while mulling the deathbed confession of a parishioner from the tiny Irish village of Roonatellin. The good priest is frantic to know why Kevin Dennehy refused to the end to marry Enda, who lived as his wife for decades with none suspecting their sin. When pressed, Kevin would only say, "there's some explanations that get you nowhere." That leaves it to Enda, an Irish Scheherazade, to breathlessly tell Father "the all of it," a wild, eyebrow-raising tale that meanders like sheep on the narrow roads.… (more)

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