Brian Moore 1921–
Irish-born Canadian novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, and scriptwriter.
Moore is a respected novelist who uses traditional structure and an unadorned, straightforward prose style. His work is usually praised for its intriguing plots; careful characterization, especially of women; and skillful evocation of place, including Belfast, where he was born, and Canada and the United States, where he has lived. Moore often draws upon his Roman Catholic background to examine themes of spiritual, psychological, and social conflict. His protagonists are generally alienated people who are luckless, displaced, or consumed by their own needs or the needs of others.
In Moore's first novel, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955), the aged title character assesses her life with bitterness, finding solace in alcohol and her imagination. This novel brought Moore immediate acclaim and recognition, as critics were impressed with his subtle communication of Judith Hearne's desperation. The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1960), which won the Governor General's Award, relates the futile efforts of an Irish emigre in Canada to achieve success for himself and financial security for his family.
Moore's later fiction often contains supernatural events and reveals his growing interest in religious and metaphysical issues. Catholics (1972) focuses on the conflict between traditional Roman Catholic dogma and the more socially oriented contemporary Catholic church. The Great Victorian Collection (1975) examines the difficulty of distinguishing between appearance and reality. In The Temptation of Eileen Hughes (1981) a middle-aged businessman becomes infatuated with a twenty-year-old shopgirl whom he desires as an object of worship. Critics praised Moore for his insightful portrayal of obsessive love and the human need for a god-figure. Cold Heaven (1983) concerns a woman who sees her husband die in a boating accident. The next day his body vanishes and there are clues suggesting that he has returned to life. Moore investigates spiritual themes and guilt as the woman attempts to understand the implications of both her religious experiences and her marital infidelity.
With each new novel, Moore continues to earn praise for his absorbing narratives and credible characters. As Joyce Carol Oates notes, "His reputation as a supremely entertaining 'serious' writer is secure."
(See also CLC, Vols. 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 19; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed.; and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 1.)