The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore

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...I still want to read it again. I know what's going to happen to poor Miss Hearne, but it's like picking up a drink after swearing it off. It just tastes so good when it's going down.
-NPR

Synopsis

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne is an unflinching and deeply sympathetic portrait of a woman destroyed by self and circumstance. First published in 1955, it marked Brian Moore as a major figure in English literature (he would go on to be short-listed three times for the Booker Prize) and established him as an astute chronicler of the human soul.

Judith Hearne is an unmarried woman of a certain age who has come down in society. She has few skills and is full of the prejudices and pieties of her genteel Belfast upbringing. But Judith has a secret life. And she is just one heartbreak away from revealing it to the world.
 

About Brian Moore

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Brian Moore (1921-1999) was born into a large, devoutly Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father was a surgeon and lecturer, and his mother had been a nurse. Moore left Ireland during World War II , serving in Europe and North Africa. In 1948 he moved to Canada, where he worked for the Montreal Gazette, married his first wife, and began to write potboilers under various pen names, as he would continue to do throughout the 1950s. Judith Hearne (1955, later retitled The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne), said to have been rejected by a dozen publishers, was the first book Moore published under his own name, and it was followed by nineteen subsequent novels written in a broad range of modes and styles, from the realistic to the historical to the quasi-fantastical, including The Luck of Ginger Coffey, An Answer from Limbo, The Emperor of Ice-Cream, I Am Mary Dunne, Catholics, Black Robe, and The Statement. Three novels-Lies of Silence, Color of Blood, The Magician's Wife-were short-listed for the Booker Prize, and The Great Victorian Collection won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. After adapting The Luck of Ginger Coffey for film in 1964, Moore moved to California to work on the script for Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain. He remained in Malibu for the rest of his life, remarrying there and teaching at UCLA for some fifteen years. Shortly before his death, Moore wrote, "there are those stateless wanderers who, finding the larger world into which they have stumbled vast, varied and exciting, become confused in their loyalties and lose their sense of home. I am one of those wanderers." Mary Gordon is the author of the novels Spending, The Company of Women, The Rest of Life, Final Payments, The Other Side, and Pearl; the short-story collections Temporary Shelter and The Stories of Mary Gordon; and the memoir The Shadow Man. She has received a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 1997 O. Henry Award for best story. She teaches at Barnard College and lives in New York City.
 
Published August 17, 2011 by NYRB Classics. 282 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction
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Reviewed by Ann Leary on Feb 10 2013

...I still want to read it again. I know what's going to happen to poor Miss Hearne, but it's like picking up a drink after swearing it off. It just tastes so good when it's going down.

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