Literary Lies of Silence by Brian Moore
#1  sun surfer 08-13-2019, 06:55 PM
'When Michael Dillon is ordered by the IRA to park his car in the carpark of a Belfast hotel, he is faced with a moral choice which leaves him absolutely nowhere to turn. He knows that he is planting a bomb that would kill and maim dozens of people. But he also knows that if he doesn't, his wife will be killed.'


Discussion is split into two supple phases.

The first phase begins immediately and lasts around a month until the next selection is chosen, so the 10th or so. This phase is generally meant for conversations about anything pre-completion, such as reading progress, thoughts on sections read, found info on the book, etc.

The second phase begins in about a month once the next selection is chosen. This phase is meant for post-completion conversations, and anything else anyone wants to discuss concerning the selection.

These phases are recommended but anyone can discuss any part or aspect at any time.

This is the MR Literary Club selection for August 2019. Everyone is welcome so feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time; the more the merrier!

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#2  sun surfer 08-28-2019, 12:38 PM
I don’t know about lies of silence but it’s certainly the sound of silence in this thread so far.

I’m enjoying it, though I’m still early on.

#3  Bookworm_Girl 08-28-2019, 02:32 PM
I’ve finished but didn’t want to post too many spoilers since there are plot twists along the way. I am planning to post my thoughts this weekend. I liked it and plan to read more books by Brian Moore. Therefore the topic accomplished its objective for me by shining the light on a new author.

I was not aware of the use of hostages for proxy activities. There was a very interesting article about it on Wikipedia with several examples from Northern Ireland. When the book was published this concern was a relevant one for people. I suppose that would have made the book even more suspenseful at the time it was published, even though the questions posed are still interesting now in historical retrospect.

Spoiler Warning below

I was surprised that his work colleagues (once they find out) were sympathetic and forgiving. I guess that is from the standpoint that it could have been any innocent bystander to the conflict targeted. I was even more surprised that his hotel chain was willing to relocate him to a fancy hotel in England after his name is in the news since you’d think that would make him a target for retaliation. As we know from history, the actions of the groups spilled into England and weren’t just isolated to Northen Ireland.

#4  AnotherCat 08-28-2019, 07:12 PM
I finished it last night and enjoyed the book. While it has a compelling to read story line I thought the prose had some sort of perfunctory nature about it. Something about it made it feel as if it had been written in a rush (perhaps to get the compelling story on paper?) and the dialogue came across as a little unnatural. That said it was a worthwhile read.

BUT he makes an error even a pulp fiction novelist would not make and that is research the things he did not know anything about before writing them multiple times into the story. He refers to both the police and the terrorists using "shortwave" radios and it is clear that these are being carried, in fact in one instance it is said "The sergeant pulled out a shortwave radio and spoke into it" so clarifying these are small units, handheld type. There were no such "shortwave radios" and he amplifies his error by referring to their use many times.

#5  sun surfer 08-30-2019, 04:33 AM
I'm close to halfway. I don't read many action thrillers, but I've seen enough action thriller films and that's definitely what this reminds me of. I feel like, so far at least, the writing is very simple but cinematic. I haven't had a lot of reading time this month hence being only halfway so far but it's an incredibly fast read for me, something I'm not used to! The pages just flow by and I find myself thinking midway in a scene, okay come on, let's get to the next one now. I do already have some thoughts on it all I'll save til done.

#6  Bookworm_Girl 09-02-2019, 07:43 PM
I thought this article written by one of his students was excellent. Moore moved to California in the late '60s to work on the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain, and he became a creative writing teacher at UCLA. Very sad news that his beachfront home in Malibu burned down in the Woolsey fire last year. His widow still lived there.

A great example of "if these walls could talk."
Famous and celebrated people visited the Moores, such as their close friends over several decades, Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, or the almost endless list of good writers, film directors and actors to whom they were devoted friends, including Julian Barnes and Pat Kavanagh, Calvin and Alice Trillin, the Irish film director Pat O’Connor and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Barry Humphries (Dame Edna Everage) and Hermione Lee.

Seamus Heaney, whose poem about visiting the Moores, “Remembering Malibu,” hung for many years in Brian’s office — later recalled the “revelation” of their “open house and hospitality, at the personal level; and intimation, at the writerly level, of withdrawal and discipline.”

#7  Bookworm_Girl 09-02-2019, 07:50 PM
Interesting that we all noticed the prose. Something you can't quite put your finger on. I was surprised by the prose because I didn't think it was typical of how I'd characterize a Booker nominee. I thought it was sparse, not overly wordy, yet it moved the action. I did keep wanting to turn the page more than I anticipated.

#8  sun surfer 09-07-2019, 03:42 AM
I finished a few days ago. Bookworm_Girl, I agree it is interesting we all noticed that about the writing. I felt this book was something of a hybrid of a second-rate action thriller and an important literary drama.

It ended as I had more or less expected; perhaps not what happened leading up to it but the final action I was waiting for.

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