Tuesday, July 13, 2021

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle


Hubert Bird is a reclusive, retired, octogenarian, Jamaican immigrant who’s lived in London the majority of his life, A long-time widower, he misses his beloved wife and his daughter Rose who moved to Australia several years previously. What he doesn’t miss is the racism he faced when he arrived in London and when he married Joyce and her family disowned her because he was black. 

In weekly calls with Rose, Hubert describes a fantasy life of friendships and activities so she won’t worry about him. With her impending visit, Hubert doesn’t know what he’ll do about his deception when new neighbor Ashleigh and her baby appear at his door and won’t take no for an answer.

The book’s premise is similar to that of A Man Called Ove, but Hubert is less irascible and his story is more hopeful despite it not being easy. It’s a sentimental novel but it’s not sappy. I didn’t adore the too tidy ending, but most readers will. 

The book was inspired by author Mike Gayle’s parents’ immigration from Jamaica to London and it reflects their lives with genuine details that make the reader feel how their son cares about their experiences.  Gayle shows his characters in humorous, sad, lonely, and joyful times that made this reader know and care about them. All the Lonely People is a celebration of friendship and of everyday, ordinary people who make a difference. 

Summing It Up: Read All the Lonely People for a feel-good summer read that offers a clever take on intergenerational friendship, race, aging, loneliness, and waking up to life. The characters are engaging and the book belongs in every beach bag. 

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Fiction, Grandma’s Pot Roast, Sweet Bean Paste, Book Club

Publication Date: July 13, 2021

Author Website: http://www.mikegayle.co.uk/ 

Interview with the Author: https://thegreatbigbookclub.com/2020/07/16/author-of-the-week-mike-gayle/

Read an Excerpt: https://www.hachette.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/All-the-Lonely-People_extract.pdf

What Others are Saying: 

Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mike-gayle/all-the-lonely-people-gayle/ 

Publishers Weekly: https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-5387-2016-5

Yorkshire Magazine: https://www.on-magazine.co.uk/arts/book-review/fiction/all-the-lonely-people-mike-gayle/ 

"With a winning main character, this absolutely heartwarming story unfolds with just enough surprises and heft to keep readers engaged. A natural choice for fans of Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand or any of the myriad recent books about cranky men finding late-in-life joy."―Booklist

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