A Matter of Faith: The Fiction of Brian Moore

A Matter of Faith: The Fiction of Brian Moore

A Matter of Faith: The Fiction of Brian Moore

A Matter of Faith: The Fiction of Brian Moore

Synopsis

This is the most extensive account of Moore's fiction to date that considers his many works from the early stories to the recent novel, No Other Life. Moore, who was born in Ireland but is a Canadian citizen and resides predominantly in the United States, has earned an international reputation as an important novelist. This book sets out to demonstrate a discernible pattern of concerns that cut across Moore's fictive output over the last 40 years. It argues that the concerns of love and faith (and the interplay between them) form the backbone of Moore's oeuvre. Sullivan draws from interviews with Moore and presents a study that convincingly demonstrates how Moore's fictions, from first to last, take their place in a larger thematic and formal masternarrative.

Excerpt

I first read Brian Moore when I was a teenager. I bought a used copy of Judith Hearne in a bookstore in Belfast, and it was a revelation to me that here was someone not only writing about the city in which I was born, but choosing also to house the protagonist of his first book in Camden Street, a street that I often walked along. Such familiar realism was enough to woo me away from the work of Camus, Sartre, and Lawrence Durrell, writers who were all the rage in those days of the early sixties. I went on to read Moore's other novels, and some years later when I was casting about for a thesis topic to complete a Master of Philosophy degree at the University of Leeds, I decided to write on Moore's work. I was able to account for all his books up to Catholics, and to my knowledge, my study was the most comprehensive at that time (1973).

I felt somewhat of a pioneer in those days, but of course I had benefited from the work of those before me, most significantly Hallvard Dahlie, John Wilson Foster, and Michael Paul Gallagher SJ (see bibliography for all works cited here). There had been some shorter pieces by Canadian critics, but it was Dahlie's monograph in the Studies in Canadian Literature series, published in 1969, that offered not only the fullest account of Moore's work to that date but also the first outline of the author's life. Dahlie's little book, which dealt with Moore's work, novel by novel, up to I Am Mary Dunne, was also the first to remark on the parallels with the Joyce of Dubliners in Moore's early fiction and the shift in perspective in Moore's work from the harsh realism of the early novels to the "broader vision" inaugurated by The Luck of Ginger Coffey. This was the first critique of substantial length that I read on Moore, and it influenced my readings of the earlier novels extensively.

Dahlie updated his work on Moore by publishing another study in 1981, this time accounting for the novels up to The Mangan Inheritance (1979), adding . . .

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