My Year with Brian Moore #brianmoore100

Yesterday saw my final review for my Brian Moore at 100 Readalong challenge which celebrated one of Belfast’s greatest literary exports during his centenary year.

It has been an absolute joy to immerse myself in so much of his work and to relish his skillful storytelling and depth of characterisation across a diverse range of styles of novel. From the historical fiction to taut thriller, magic realism to documentary style political intrigue, Moore is a writer who in consistently unclassifiable. As his biographer Patricia Craig notes

Self-imposed exile, along with his well-known refusal to keep on writing the same book in a different guide, meant that Brian Moore did not have a fixed audience for his work, a deficiency he accepted as the price of his untrammelled unpredictability.

It’s quite astounding that a writer of such calibre, who had incredible critical and public success during his life should now be effectively out of print. The aim of the Brian Moore at 100 project was to critically appraise, and thus revive scholarly and public interest in the work of this neglected and important writer. The amount of fantastic events and online discussion about his work over the last year has been edifying to see.

Here are the books I read this year, you can click on the titles to read my reviews.

JanuaryLies of Silence (1990)
FebruaryThe Feast of Lupercal (1957)
MarchFergus (1970)
AprilThe Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne(1955)
MayThe Doctor’s Wife (1976)
JuneNo Other Life (1993)
JulyCold Heaven (1983)
AugustThe Temptation of Eileen Hughes (1981)
SeptemberThe Emperor of Ice-cream (1965)
OctoberThe Dear Departed: Short Stories (2020)
NovemberCatholics (1972)
DecemberThe Magician’s Wife (1997)

Some of these were rereads, including Lies of Silence, Cold Heaven and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne and all were as good as I remembered.

Of the books that were new to me this year, my outright favourite was the masterpiece that is The Emperor of Ice-cream, followed closely by The Feast of Lupercal and The Magician’s Wife. It’s telling that there wasn’t one book that I didn’t enjoy and the introduction to his short stories in the newly published The Dear Departed proved that his skill didn’t just lie in the novel form.

Despite the great efforts of Turnpike Books, who this year republished The Emperor of Ice-cream, The Feast of Lupercal and The Revolution Script, most of Moore’s books remain criminally out of print.

Turnpike Books new editions of three Moore books

Because of this I knew that few people would be able to join in with this Readalong, but many thanks to those that did:

The Doctor’s Wife reviewed by Jacqui at JacquiWine’s Journal

The Doctor’s Wife reviewed by Ali at HeavenAli

Fergus reviewed by Reese at Typings

Lies of Silence reviewed by Claire at Word by Word

The Doctor’s Wife reviewed by Marina Sofia

The Dear Departed reviewed by Lizzy Siddall

The Doctor’s Wife reviewed by Simon at Stuck in a Book

The Feast of Lupercal reviewed by Ali at HeavenAli

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Lisa at ANZ LitLovers Blog

The Emperor of Icecream reviewed by Jackie at Never Imitate

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne reviewed by Rebecca at Bookish Beck

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne reviewed by Laura at Reading in Bed

No Other Life reviewed by Reese at Typings

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne reviewed by Claire at Word by Word

Lies of Silence reviewed by Ali at HeavenAli

The Great Victorian Collection reviewed by Simon at Stuck in a Book

The Feast of Lupercal reviewed by Lizi at Just One More Page

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne reviewed at ‘You Might As Well Read’

The Doctor’s Wife reviewed by Claire at Word by Word

The Magician’s Wife reviewed by Claire at Word by Word

The Color of Blood reviewed by Reese at Typings

Even if you didn’t join in, I do hope that the reviews and general Brian Moore chat have piqued some interest and maybe put this most under-rated of authors on your reading radar for the future.

My official year of reading Brian Moore may be over, but I intend to keep going! I have quite a few of his novels still to read including The Luck of Ginger Coffey, The Revolution Script, The Statement, The Mangan Inheritance, The Great Victorian Collection, Black Robe and The Color of Blood. I also want to fully read Patricia Craig’s insightful biography which I have been dipping in and out of all year.

Thanks again to everyone who took part and made this a fantastic year celebrating a fantastic author.

Brian Moore 100 Irish Literature Northern Exposure The 746

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

23 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Lovely round-up, and clearly I’m going to have to get The Emperor of Ice-Cream. I did read a couple in celebration of the year – The Doctor’s Wife and The Great Victorian Collection – though not managing to coincide with the right month for the former. But thanks for inspiring me to get them off the shelves!


  2. After your year-long appraisal and your helpful reviews I can definitely say I shan’t pass over any title of his I should come across. I’ll see if our library has access to any copies when it, reopens in the New Year. Anyway, congrats on completing your project!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was such a great reading event Cathy. I had hoped to join in with more than the three I did. However, Brian Moore is definitely someone I will be reading more of in the future. Hopefully you will have really helped to raise his profile.


    • Three was great Ali, particularly when it is so hard to get hold of his work. I think Turnpike are republishing a few more of his novels in 2022 so it will be interesting to see which ones they go for.


  4. It was great that you hosted this–thanks! I didn’t read as many as I’d hoped at the beginning of the year, but I got a couple in. And it was fun to read your reviews–and all the others. Thanks again!


  5. Congratulations, Cathy, on a really interesting reading project. You’ve definitely achieved a lot in raising Moore’s profile amongst your followers and the literary world in general. Even though I only managed one Moore this year, I’d like to return to him in the future. There are a couple of options I have in mind – hopefully they’ll come my way at some point in the next year or two!


  6. I love this project and wish I could have gotten my act together. But, like I said in another comment, I still plan to read the book I picked out over a year ago now – The Luck of Ginger Coffey. Fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

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