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Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 205

Brian Moore’s Lies of Silence is a sort of exposé on the unsteady politics of Northern Ireland (specifically as represented by the IRA), and a commentary on the futility of the IRA’s mission. The protagonist, Michael Dillon, is a would-be writer who works as a hotel manager, having seen little success for his poetry as a young adult. His wife of three years, Moira (whose name is the Greek word for “fate”), is bulimic, looks-conscious, and generally insecure. When the IRA comes to their home and holds Moira hostage with the aim of kidnapping Dillon and bombing his hotel, Dillon does as he is told; but he informs the police in order for the hotel to be evacuated in time and for people to be saved. Moira is devastated that her husband has been unfaithful and has risked her life during the kidnapping.

The novel examines the longevity and futility of the IRA struggle (ultimately costing Dillon his life). On the personal level, the novel obliquely demonstrates that stifling one’s true passion (as Michael did when abandoning his writing pursuits) has ramifications that contribute to unhappiness in many personal spheres (such as with his marriage), as it represents a compromise of character.

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