Happy St. Patrick's Day. <--insert irony emoticon here-->
Holy moly, faith an' begorrah. This Brian Moore guy ... I think I love him (even) more than [a:Graham Greene|2533|Graham Greene|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1254688603p2/2533.jpg], which is the most obvious comparison. I devoured this, reading ravenously to 3 a.m. this morning. Judith! Poor Judith. Is there any one of us who doesn't feel for her? Feel *like* her? The loss of faith angle is icing on the top for this non-Catholic.
Seven things for now:
1) Feels like [b:Slaves of Solitude|176964|The Slaves of Solitude|Patrick Hamilton|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320547784s/176964.jpg|1195361], but with the added religious layer.
2) What an eviscerating portrait of social class and religious intolerance. The vacuum-packed, claustrophobic, eating-one's-own-young, soul-destroying religious and class prejudice and oppression of Belfast - Ireland - at that time - still - and elsewhere. Every small town in Upper n' Lower Canada
, for example, where these roots to this day run so deep. It's not accidental that Moore was writing this as an ex-pat from Montreal.
3) The internal dialogue and shifting POVs are EX-QUI-SITE.
4) Bernie and his Ma - ewwww, ick, and whattup with THAT? Wow.
5) I WANT THIS TO BE A STAGE PRODUCTION! Has it ever been? I can see this on stage so easily (internal dialogue notwithstanding). C'mon goodreaders, if it hasn't been, let's write it!
6) The ending - does she or doesn't she regain her faith? - reminded me of the similar ambiguity for Fr. Emilio in [b:The Sparrow|334176|The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1)|Mary Doria Russell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1230829367s/334176.jpg|3349153].
7) Almost as - nay, more! - wrist-slashingly sad as [b:The House of Mirth|17728|The House of Mirth|Edith Wharton|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328729186s/17728.jpg|1652564]. Very surprised that Judith didn't take that path out. Still not sure that Moore didn't leave the picture of aunt and The Sacred Heart - which I assume are behind glass? - within easy reach for a reason.