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Moore, Brian

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(British/Canadian, 1921–99)

Born in Belfast, Moore served in North Africa and Europe in the Second World War, then worked for the United Nations before emigrating to Canada in 1948. He adopted Canadian citizenship and lived in California until his death. His work is wide-ranging and intensely involving: begin with The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955). The heroine is a lonely, religious, alcoholic spinster in Belfast, who falls in love with a man whom she thinks has had important work in New York. Black Robe (1985) is set in the seventeenth century, and concerns the attempt by two Jesuit monks to relieve a mission in the northern wilds of Canada. The Indians find the Catholic Blackrobes greedy and evil, the older priest thinks the Indians repulsive savages, but the younger, Daniel, finds them beautiful and mysterious, and abandons his vows for an Indian girl. This is compelling, and Moore engages sympathy for the differing viewpoints of all his characters. Equally fast-paced is The Colour of Blood (1987, Booker Prize-shortlisted, Sunday Express Book of the Year), a thriller about a cardinal in a communist state, whose personal faith is tested to the limit. No Other Life (1993) is set on a fictional Caribbean island and concerns a young black boy, Jeannot, who has been rescued from poverty and educated by a Canadian missionary. Jeannot urges his compatriots to rise against their oppressors, thus making enemies of the island's ruling military junta, the church, and the rich. As in Graham Greene, Moore's heroes are often finally in conflict with their own consciences.

Graham Greene, William Trevor, John McGahern. See IRELAND  JR

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