Absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle today! My thanks to Jenny at Hodder for the opportunity to join and for the fab review copy.
Author : Mike Gayle
Title : All The Lonely People
Pages : 368
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date : July 23, 2020
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.
But Hubert Bird is lying.
The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.
Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.
Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .
Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Every once in a while, I need a break from the crime and psychological thriller genre I spend so much time with. So when the opportunity to read All The Lonely People came my way, it seemed like a sign to wander away from the dark and disturbing path to something a bit more feel-good and uplifting. Did my gamble pay off, you ask?
Why, yes, it absolutely did. From the moment I was introduced to Hubert Bird, I knew I had made the right choice. He is undoubtedly one of those characters you immediately warm to, even though he is utterly capable of slamming the door in your face without saying a single word. In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, Hubert has the most wonderful anecdotes to share about life after retirement, his fabulous circle of friends and all the shenanigans they get up to. But, Hubert is lying to his daughter. He can go days without seeing a single soul. Often the only conversations he has are with his cat and as any pet lover will tell you, those conversations aren’t exactly stimulating.
Hubert is lonely but he is not the only one. Two events will shake up Hubert’s life in a way he didn’t see coming at all. First of all, his daughter is coming home for an extended visit. This is brilliant news, of course! It’s also bad news because Hubert’s daughter is determined to meet Hubert’s, non-existent, friends. And now Hubert has a mere months to somehow turn his fake life into a reality. Maybe event number two might help with that and that is the arrival of a new neighbour.
All The Lonely People seamlessly switches between the past and the present, really giving the reader the opportunity to get to know Hubert from his humble beginnings to where he is now. Hubert was part of the Windrush generation. Born and raised in Jamaica, he decided to leave his home and family behind to travel to England to find work and a chance at a better life. Hubert got married, raised a family and if all that sounds incredibly simple and easy, it wasn’t. Hubert faced a lot of challenges in his lifetime but I will leave those for you to discover. They will make you want to hug him like there’s no tomorrow, they will make you root for him and they will make you wish he will somehow find some happiness again.
In the present day chapters, the reader meets a gloriously varied and colourful cast of supporting characters. It’s quite obvious from reading All The Lonely People that author Mike Gayle is an excellent observer and many of these characters had me thinking I know someone like that! They come across as realistic and believable, as do the issues they deal with.
This is a beautifully written, insightful and uplifting novel about life, loss, loneliness and hope that had me going through a range of emotions. I felt angry at times, I chuckled and yes, there may have been moments where I became a little emotional as I found myself increasingly invested in these characters’ lives. I thoroughly enjoyed Hubert’s story from start to finish and I’m even more delighted to have discovered a new-to-me author. When next I need a break from the gruesomeness, I’ll definitely be looking out for another novel by Mike Gayle. Recommended!
All The Lonely People is available to buy!
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Mike Gayle was born and raised in Birmingham. After graduating from Salford University with a degree in Sociology, he moved to London to pursue a career in journalism and worked as a Features Editor and agony uncle. He has written for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, the Guardian and Cosmopolitan.
Mike became a full time novelist in 1997 following the publication of his Sunday Times top ten bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend, which was hailed by the Independent as ‘Full of belly laughs and painfully acute observations,’ and by The Times as ‘A funny, frank account of a hopeless romantic’. Since then he has written thirteen novels including Mr Commitment, Turning Thirty and The Man I Think I Know. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages.