Tuesday, July 13, 2021

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle: Review


All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

All the Lonely People is heart wrenching, heart warming, and a realistic example of how easily people can quietly slip into isolation and loneliness without anyone noticing. Mike Gayle starts the reader out with the main character Hubert in the present trying to figure out how to make right a fantasy life that he's created for his daughter Rose so that she wouldn't worry about him living alone. We get to see glimpses of Hubert's life as a new arrival in England in 1957 from Jamaica until it converges with the present with Hubert living alone in England after having to let go of his three great loves; his wife and two children in different ways and for different reasons over the course of his life. Hubert's story isn't the only one of loneliness in this book. We also get examples of how other people fell into loneliness through a best friend that Hubert lost contact with, a young neighbor, and a few other local people who find their way to each other. The way Gayle writes the details of Hubert's life as so beautifully ordinary with it's challenges, temptations, and joys that I easily fell into the rhythm of this story and there was never a good breaking point for me to want to put the book down. I wanted to read just one more paragraph, just one more page, then just let me finish this chapter before I stop to do real life stuff, which was a joy. There is a revelation in this story towards the end that literally made me gasp and with it Gayle almost made me shed a tear. I breathed through it and managed to only mist up, but dang he hit me in the heart with it. This story isn't perfect, the ending was a bit rushed and I would have liked it to have been filled out more, but I'm giving this story five starts for how it left me feeling at the end and the fact that Hubert will stick with me for a very long time. I will be picking up some of Gayle's backlist because I enjoyed this so much.

***I received a review copy from the publisher.***

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