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?
From bestselling author Mike Gayle, All the Lonely People is by turns a funny and moving meditation on love, race, old age and friendship that will not only charm and uplift, but also remind you of the power of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.
I have heard amazing things about All The Lonely People, but despite this, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. With the chapters alternating between the past and the present, it made it easy for me to see how Hubert had reached the situation in which we see him in the novel, where he calls his daughter each week, but has little other interaction in between these calls. Through the story, which is written with incredible sensitivity, I was able to immerse myself in Hubert’s life, feeling every emotion as the reality of it is slowly revealed.
I warmed to Hubert almost immediately. His personality and back story are really well explored, which made me feel as though Hubert could be someone from my own community. His fellow committee members, especially Ashleigh and Jan, are also wonderful and I was fully invested in them all until the very end.
Through the lives of these colourful characters, Gayle touches upon a number of themes. Alongside loneliness, the reader is encouraged to think about racism, drug and alcohol use and relationships, which are all relevant to the modern reader.
I chose to listen to the audio version of All The Lonely People, which is narrated by Ben Onwukwe. He does a brilliant job of using accents to distinguish between the characters and bring them to life.
The ending of All The Lonely People is, be warned, one that will bring tears to the eyes of even the most heartless readers. However it is very fitting for what is an incredibly emotional novel.
All The Lonely People is available from Amazon.