The All of It
As he stands by a river in a miserable rain, a salmon-fishing priest reflects on the "confession" of a recently widowed woman. Her revelation that her husband of nearly fifty years was really her brother and the special circumstances that caused the pair to live so long a lie causes Father Declan de Loughry to re-examine his conventional notions of sin, guilt, and redemption. It also causes him to re-examine his own human need for companionship.
Short, spare, and beautifully written, The All of It was Haien's first novel, a deceptively simple, but emotionally powerful tale, published when she was in her 60s. She would go on to publish one more novel.
"Every decent-hearted angler knows that tomorrow's rewards are kindled by today's disappointment's."
"One thing I've learned, Father--that in this life it's best to keep the then and the now and the what's-to-be as close together in your thoughts as you can. It's when you let gaps creep in, when you separate out the intervals and dwell on them, that you can't bear the sorrow."
"There's benefaction in closing off vision: with your eyes shut you're disobliged from keeping the show going for yourself or anyone else."