“That’s the funny thing about life. Extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people like you and me, but only if we open ourselves up enough to let them.”
Published in 2020, All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle follows widower Hubert Bird who is not alone in being alone. He just needs to realise it. In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, Hubert paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment. But Hubert is lying.
The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul. Until, that is, he receives some news, news that will force him back out into a world he has long since turned his back on. His daughter is coming to visit. Now, Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
I’m not going to lie: I wasn’t excited to pick this book up. I recently read another popular book about a grumpy old man, and although that surprised me too, I didn’t think a similar-sounding premise would grab my attention.
But I absolutely loved this! I may have turned the first page with apprehension, but I turned the final page only hours later with a tear in my eye!
Hubert is such a warm and lovely character, and the story of his life absolutely broke my heart. How can one person go through so much pain? But I’m so glad he found comfort in his neighbours, and their support filled me with so much joy.
Gayle is a brilliant writer. His words felt effortless but they were packed with so much emotion, that it really did pack a punch. This lovely book took me by complete surprise, and I’m so happy that I decided to give it a shot!
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