The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
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About the author
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 and in 1948 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. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955, now available as an NYRB Classic), 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, and The Magician’s Wife—were short-listed for the Booker Prize, and The Great Victorian Collectionwon 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 Shelterand 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.
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.
New York Review Books
; August 2011
240 pages; ISBN 9781590174203Read online
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Title: The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
Author: Brian Moore; Mary Gordon
In the press
"Set in Belfast in the early 1950s, Brian Moore’s The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne is not a kind book, no, but it is utterly transfixing…. By the end of this truly brilliant, shocking novel, a story peopled by characters who make your skin crawl, the impossible has occurred: The reader both understands and feels compassion for a really awful woman." —Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe
"Moore is surely one of the most versatile and compelling novelists writing today." —Daily Telegraph
"I can’t think of another living male novelist who writes about women with such sympathy and understanding."—Times Literary Supplement
"Remarkable…seldom in modern fiction has any character been revealed so completely or been made to seem so poignantly real."—The New York Times
"A harrowing tour de force."—New Statesman and Nation
"…A powerful haunting story by a young Irish-Canadian who knows the meaning not only of loneliness, but that of compassion as well."—The New York Times
"A penetrating, comic, tragic tale of a plain woman…It is a novel that occasionally sings with the lilt of the Irish greats."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Moore has absolute control over his narrative, and Judith Hearne’s descent is both excruciating and enthralling."— Anne Enright in O, The Oprah Magazine