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Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore

10 August 2000
Brian MooreThe Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... In the second chapter of Brian Moore’s first novel The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Miss Hearne gets to know her fellow boarders, especially the landlady’s brother, the returned Yank, Mr Madden. They discuss the difference between men and women in Ireland and America. ‘Guys beating their brains out to keep their wives in mink,’ Mr Madden complains ...

Holy Roman Empire

Rosemary Dinnage

3 November 1983
Cold Heaven 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 271 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 224 02099 4
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Time After Time 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 247 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 9780233975870
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Winter’s Tale 
by Mark Helprin.
Weidenfeld, 673 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 297 78329 7
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August 
by Judith Rossner.
Cape, 376 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 224 02172 9
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Kiss of Life 
by Keith Colquhoun.
Murray, 159 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 7195 4082 8
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... Greeneland is the most famous sex ’n religion territory, its next-door neighbour must surely be Mooreland. Brian Moore has staked out a very specific American-Irish, Catholic subject-matter and has rightly earned high praise. Unlike Greene, he usually makes his central, guilt-ridden character a woman, and he is more ...
20 November 1980
Selected Poems 1956-1975 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 136 pp., £3.95, October 1980, 0 571 11644 2
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Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 224 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 571 11638 8
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... magazines, notably the New Yorker, have welcomed the talents of John McGahern, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, Edna O’Brien and Benedict Kiely, among others, one could give long odds against a manuscript by an unknown Irish novelist or poet seeing the light of first publication in Boston or in New York. So it’s back to London and the old Anglo-Irish ...

Lapsing

Terry Eagleton

8 April 1993
No Other Life 
by Brian Moore.
Bloomsbury, 216 pp., £14.99, February 1993, 0 7475 1474 7
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... coolly appropriated those Irish artists who took to their heels to escape this dire condition. Brian Moore took off from Northern Ireland to North America many years ago, but this, as with Joyce, was just a way of putting some daylight between himself and the place in order the more effectively to engage with it. All writing distances what it draws ...
1 October 1981
Pretender to the Throne: The Further Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin 
by Vladimir Voinovich, translated by Richard Lourie.
Cape, 358 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 9780224019668
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The Temptation of Eileen Hughes 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 224 pp., £6.50, October 1981, 0 224 01936 8
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Silver’s City 
by Maurice Leitch.
Secker, 181 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 436 24413 6
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The Christmas Tree 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Hamish Hamilton, 167 pp., £6.50, September 1981, 0 241 10673 7
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... do not figure very largely; but Ireland does, and, increasingly, Northern Ireland. This is Brian Moore’s territory, Belfast and its environs; and even when his characters travel far from it, to Ville-franche, or Los Angeles or London, they are still enveloped in its miasma. The violence is only glimpsed on the fringe of these ...

Naming of Parts

Patrick Parrinder

6 June 1985
Quinx or The Ripper’s Tale 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Faber, 201 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 571 13444 0
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Helliconia Winter 
by Brian Aldiss.
Cape, 285 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 224 01847 7
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Black Robe 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 256 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 224 02329 2
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... bluster. If naming in the ‘Avignon Quintet’ is a slippery and enigmatic casting of spells, in Brian Aldiss’s ‘Helliconia Trilogy’ its function is remorselessly cognitive. Helliconia is a remarkable instance of what is nowadays called world-building, a specialist activity which has reached the stage of do-it-yourself articles in recent issues of the ...

In the dark

Philip Horne

1 December 1983
The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius 
by Donald Spoto.
Collins, 594 pp., £12.95, May 1983, 0 00 216352 7
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Howard Hawks, Storyteller 
by Gerald Mast.
Oxford, 406 pp., £16.50, June 1983, 0 19 503091 5
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... approached Hemingway, Hammett and Nabokov, and employed Thornton Wilder, Steinbeck, Chandler, Brian Moore and Anthony Shaffer). Spoto has found many ready to testify to Hitchcock’s inadequacy without them (like Brian Moore of Torn Curtain: ‘I found that he had absolutely no concept of character’); and to ...

Belfast Book

Patricia Craig

5 June 1986
Lonely the man without heroes 
by M.S. Power.
Heinemann, 222 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 434 59960 3
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The Pearlkillers 
by Rachel Ingalls.
Faber, 205 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 571 13795 4
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The Girls 
by John Bowen.
Hamish Hamilton, 182 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 0 241 11867 0
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To have and to hold 
by Deborah Moggach.
Viking, 320 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 670 80812 1
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Vacant Possession 
by Hilary Mantel.
Chatto, 239 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 7011 3047 4
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Breaking the rules 
by Caroline Lassalle.
Hamish Hamilton, 280 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 241 11837 9
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The Bay of Silence 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 163 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 224 02345 4
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... is called The Killing of Yesterday’s Children), viewing it from a perspective not available to Brian Moore, for example, who judged it wanting in rather more quotidian ways. Moore’s acuity as a social critic is the really striking thing about his Belfast novels – though the outcome of the malaise he encountered ...

Football Mad

Martin Amis

3 December 1981
The Soccer Tribe 
by Desmond Morris.
Cape, 320 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 9780224019354
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... England v. Hungary encounter on 18 November. By the time you read me, anything might be happening. Brian Clough or Bob Stokoe or Elton John could be the new England manager, nursing bruised dreams for the World Cup in 1986. On the other hand, Sir Ron Greenwood might even now be contentedly inspecting the hotels in Bilbao, hoping to find a likely venue for the ...

Self-Effacers

John Lanchester

24 May 1990
Chicago Loop 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 183 pp., £12.99, April 1990, 0 241 12949 4
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Lies of Silence 
by Brian Moore.
Bloomsbury, 194 pp., £12.99, April 1990, 0 7475 0610 8
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Amongst Women 
by John McGahern.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.99, May 1990, 0 571 14284 2
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The Condition of Ice 
by Christopher Burns.
Secker, 170 pp., £12.95, April 1990, 0 436 19989 0
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... garden, waiting for the cat. But the cat did not come. Where was it?’ Students of the oeuvre of Brian Moore’s one-time collaborator Alfred Hitchcock will hum doomy music to themselves when they read those words – and they’ll be right. The cat doesn’t come because the cat has been murdered by a team of IRA gunmen who, later that same ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: On the Booker

12 November 1987
... Did Iris Murdoch lose some elms? Does Peter Ackroyd’s cottage need re-thatching? The expatriate Brian Moore might not seem to qualify for Hurricane Relief: but he lives beside the San Andreas Fault, and might soon need underpinning. In the end, of course, the judges relied on the more established but just as frivolous system of polite compromise and ...

Lovers on a Train

Susannah Clapp

10 January 1991
Carol 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Bloomsbury, 240 pp., £13.99, October 1990, 0 7475 0719 8
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... I’d write if I was foolish enough not to know that I couldn’t write a novel’; he commended Brian Moore for having included, in one of the most routine sentences Moore has ever written, the words ‘a quarter to nine’. Beryl Bainbridge’s An Awfully Big Adventure he denounced as being a novel ‘about a ...
1 October 1987
A Friend from England 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 205 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 224 02443 4
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The New Confessions 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 462 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 241 12383 6
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The Colour of Blood 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 182 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 224 02513 9
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... through art, and Boyd’s hero never persuades us that he might have it. After such diffuseness, Brian Moore’s A Colour of Blood is a model of economy. It raises large issues about church and state but is content to dramatise rather than discuss them; its virtues are linear, not discursive. In the opening sequence (the narrative is highly cinematic ...

A Novel without a Hero

Christopher Ricks

6 December 1979
The Mangan Inheritance 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 336 pp., £5.50
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... the double-goers double into triple- and quadruple-goers. So the jacket of the English edition of Brian Moore’s latest (tenth) novel, the blurb of which is superior to that of the American edition in that it doesn’t betray the plot, is inferior in that it limns the daguerrotype and then splits the face down the middle, tonsorially and sartorially, as ...

Diary

Karl Miller: What is rugby for?

5 December 1991
... impulse. For the Independent, the knock-on was an ‘outrageous’ act. For the England hooker, Brian Moore, it was a bad case of cheating. For me, it was something anyone might have done, perhaps, for god’s sake, hoping for a catch. A penalty was awarded. But there was talk of a penalty try, and some moralists would probably have preferred a ...

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