The Enjoyable Reading of Brian Moore

What do you do when you go on holiday? Go to the library of course, especially if you are tempted in by a notice saying, “BOOKS FOR SALE”. Two hours later you scrape yourself off the floor of that municipal building and pay up for a stretched armful of books that you can’t possibly leave to be unloved.

And so it was that I acquired my first Brian Moore. It was a very slim volume, its purple, plastic-protected jacket faded to mauve: “Catholics”.

The book begins:

The fog lifted. The island was there. The visitor walked to the end of the disused pier and saw it across three miles of ocean, riding the sea like an overturned fishing-boat. morning sunlight moved along a keel of mountain, above valleys black as tarred boatsides. He thought of Rome. Surprisingly the Order itself had little descriptive information. In the Lungoterre Vaticano he had been handed an out-of-print book: Weir’s Guide to Religious Monuments.

Though I picked the book up in the library in Padstow, Cornwall, the beginning of this short novel reminded me of the first time I had travelled to Caldey Island, off Tenby, South Wales to stay at the guesthouse of the Cistercian (Trappist) Caldey Abbey.

So if you have never read any Brian Moore, or indeed visited a monastery, then Catholics would seem a good place to begin.

Now I know that I have promised not to buy any books but after I have shepherded my Brian Moore’s together, I will make a list of those I need to look out for, and I will carry it with me, because if you see a book that you know you need then you have to buy it. don’t you.

Meanwhile, in preparation for my Moore hunt, I will share my list of books with you. Brian Moore also wrote as Michael Bryan and Bernard Mara but I’m not sure if I will start on those just yet.

BRIAN MOORE 1921-1999

“his books often have a religious motif, without religious intent”

“‘every tale should tell itself’. Story is everything… the writers we remember were dedicated story-tellers.”

Wreath for a Redhead ( in US “Sailor’s Leave”) 1951 writing as Michael Bryan
The Executioners 1951 writing as Michael Bryan
French for Murder 1954 writing as Bernard Mara
A Bullet for My Lady 1955 writing as Bernard Mara
Judith Hearne 1955 read & seen film
This Gun for Gloria 1956 writing as Bernard Mara
Intent to Kill 1956 writing as Michael Bryan
The Feast of Lupercal 1957
Murder in Majorca 1957 writing as as Michael Bryan
The Luck of Ginger Coffey 1960
An Answer from Limbo 1962
Canada 1965
The Emperor of Ice Cream 1965
I Am Mary Dunne 1968
Fergus 1970
The Revolution Script 1971
Catholics 1972 read
The Great Victorian Collection 1975 read
The Doctor’s Wife 1976 have ? but not read yet
Two Stories 1978
The Mangan Inheritance 1979
The Temptation of Eileen Hughes 1981
Cold Heaven 1983
Black Robe 1985 read
The Color of Blood 1987 read
Lies of Silence 1990 read
No Other Life 1993 read
The Statement 1995 think I’ve read
The Magician’s Wife 1997 have but not read

One Response to “The Enjoyable Reading of Brian Moore”

  1. John Self Says:

    Fantastic, another Brian Moore fan! I’ve begun reading all his novels in order, and am up to The Revolution Script, his seventh. (I’ve read most of the later ones previously, but not for years, so am looking forward to a comprehensive revisit.) I haven’t read any of the Bernard Mara/Michael Bryan books, and I understand they’re not really worth bothering with.

    You might also like the Brian Moore blog where I and a couple of other Moore fans have posted reviews of his books.

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