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.
|January||Lies of Silence (1990)|
|February||The Feast of Lupercal (1957)|
|April||The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne(1955)|
|May||The Doctor’s Wife (1976)|
|June||No Other Life (1993)|
|July||Cold Heaven (1983)|
|August||The Temptation of Eileen Hughes (1981)|
|September||The Emperor of Ice-cream (1965)|
|October||The Dear Departed: Short Stories (2020)|
|December||The 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.
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.
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!