Audiobook Review: All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

All the Lonely People
by Mike Gayle

Publication date: July 13th 2021
Publisher: Hachette Audio (first published July 23rd 2020)


In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship, and fulfillment. But it’s a lie. In reality, Hubert’s days are all the same, dragging on without him seeing a single soul.

Until 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. The news that his daughter is coming for a visit.

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?

Source: Goodreads


I’ve read a few books by Mike Gayle and I’ve enjoyed them all. As expected, “All the Lonely People” is a heart-warming, uplifting read told from a male point of view. So many books that I read have female protagonists and I find it so refreshing to read a male character who isn’t a spy, murderer or policeman!

Hubert Bird is a character to fall in love with. He’s an 84 year old man who arrived in the UK the 50s as part of the Windrush generation. As a Jamaican man at the time he was greeted with bad weather, bad food and a whole load of racism too.

The book flips back and forth between present day and the past, telling the story of Hubert’s arrival in the country and his budding relationship with Joyce Pierce, a white woman whose family refuse to have anything to do with them when Joyce falls pregnant. I particularly enjoyed hearing about Hubert’s past and found it quite interesting to learn about the prejudice experienced by so many at the time.

In present day, Hubert has seen years of loss and grief, now living a lonely life with only his daughter to speak to on the phone. A professor at a university in Australia, Rose calls her father every week for an update, but she thinks everything is fine, because Hubert has been lying to her about the friendships he’s made and the activities he fills his week with. When Rose announces that she’s coming to visit, Hubert panics and forces himself to go out in hope of finding some friends to cover up the lies he’s been telling for so long.

“When you don’t see someone regularly you imagine them carrying on with their lives as they’d always done from one year to the next, but the truth was things changed. People grew old and got sick, they sold up and moved on; they weren’t frozen in time waiting for the day that you knocked on their door looking for them.”

I really enjoyed this book and its diverse cast of characters and I think it was published at such an appropriate time in a period where so many people across the world are feeling alone during the pandemic. Hubert meets so many wonderful characters on his mission and each of them feels authentic and easy to like and feel for. The story itself was crafted beautifully and kept me entertained from start to finish, even through the heart wrenching moments. I don’t always like flicking between time zones but Mike Gayle has done a great job at structuring the story and there weren’t any occasions where I found myself lost. I am impressed that a book can be so heartbreakingly sad yet still be funny, hopeful and heart-warming throughout.

I have a couple more Mike Gayle books on my shelf and I know there have been more recent books published too. After this read, I’m very much looking forward to reading more!

Overall rating: “All the Lonely People” is somehow a light and easy read and an emotionally heavy one all at the same time. I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to more books by Mike Gayle5 stars!

See my other reviews of books by Mike Gayle here:

Click the pictures below to view this book in various formats on Amazon

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Thanks for reading! What did you think of this book? Or if you haven’t read it, would you like to? Drop me a comment and say hello!


3 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

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