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The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,781 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne is an unflinching and deeply sympathetic portrait of a woman destroyed by self and circumstance. First published in 1955, it marked Brian Moore as a major figure in English literature (he would go on to be short-listed three times for the Booker Prize) and established him as an astute chronicler of the human soul.

Judith Hearne is an unma
Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published (first published 1955)
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Oct 13, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to think of a more depressing novel than Brian Moore's The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, and I came up with exactly nada. Even Holocaust literature usually aspires to some mitigating, redemptive element to remind the reader that—even though the world is a sick, twisted, hateful, miserable, incomprehensibly fucked-up place—there are still nooks and crannies of goodness to be found here and there. (Or what passes for goodness on the sliding scale of values, at any rate.) Mitigation is s ...more
Hannah Messler
Oct 17, 2008 Hannah Messler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh sweet lord if there is a more excruciatingly, exquisitely, exactingly, deliriously wretched little book out there, I don't think I could even handle it.

What an absolute motherfucking masterpiece.
Aug 04, 2014 Melki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-fiction
"I think you're as lonely as a Sunday morning
That never had a Saturday night."

That's Judy Hearne, all right, though she honestly likes Sundays. It's the one day each week when she has plenty to do. First, there's church, followed by her visit to the O'Neill household for tea. She has such fun thinking of the stories she will tell and the gossip she will share.

It began with the long tram ride to their house which gave you plenty of time to rehearse the things you would tell them, interesting
Feb 18, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, nyrb, 2016, ireland

There is someone in my life who partly reminds me of Judith Hearne. Along with Judith, this person has the complete inability to see things from other’s point of view, or to see reality in the harsh day of light. As a result, her entire outlook and perceptions of people are severely skewed. Judith’s clinginess and desperation is awkward to read about if you know someone like that. She’s a grasping for attention sort of person (talk to me, like me, be my friend, please!)

What could he be thinking
Jan 03, 2013 Dem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bookclub Re-Read
I really really enjoyed this extraordinary novel and found this modern classic fiction writing at its best.

This Novel was one of the recommendations from Good Reads and I have to be honest I had never heard of Brian Moore until I purchased this book. First published in 1955 this novel is a real classic and I can see why Mr Moore was shortlisted for the Booker Pricze three times.

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne is an unflinching and deeply sympathetic portrait of a woman destro
Jan 21, 2017 ❀Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classics, 2017
In Vito veritas: "in wine, truth", suggesting a person under the influence of alcohol is more likely to speak their hidden thoughts and desires.

The saying that comes to mind is, "if you don’t laugh you’ll cry”. This book was so densely bleak yet with enough comic undertones that I found it surprisingly humorous at times. Poor Judy is a pitiful character, who is so sorrowful for all the crosses she’s had to bear. She is a devout Catholic whose weakness will be tempted and faith will be tested. Th
Such a sad story of a tortured soul. A beautifully executed novel that does pack a wallop. I've had this novel in my to be read pile for years and have had a lot of recommendations for it but the timing just wasn't right for the read.

It's an emotionally draining read, of a complex woman, her "battle" with alcohol, her guilt, and her faith. I can't remember having read a novel where a male author has been able to portray a woman so finely, delicately as the author was able to do in this novel.

Jennifer (aka EM)
Dec 23, 2012 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people whose faith in either direction is strong enough to take it
Recommended to Jennifer (aka EM) by: David via review
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 Graham Greene, 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? (view spoiler)

Seven things for now:

1) Feels like Slaves of Sol
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"Denn alles Fleisch ist wie Gras
und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen
wie des Grases Blumen.
Das Gras ist verdorret
und die Blume abgefallen....So seid nun geduldig, lieben Brüder,
bis auf die Zukunft des Herrn.
Siehe, ein Ackermann wartet
auf die köstliche Frucht der Erde
und ist geduldig darüber... Herr, lehre doch mich,
daß ein Ende mit mir haben muß,
und mein Leben ein Ziel hat,
und ich davon muß."

"For all flesh is as grass,
and the glory of man
like flowers.
The grass withers
and the flower falls...Therefo
May 03, 2014 M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was simply devastating. Judy, a spinster, who is devoutly religious, a tad martyrish, and woefully unaware of her own reality, takes up residence at yet a new boarding house (this whole concept of shared living that seemed to be so common Back Then but now seemingly obsolete really fascinates me) where she meets a single man. In Judy's classic way she immediately assumes more to the connection than there is, and the story quickly details the devastation of Judy, who is also mishandling ...more
Aug 01, 2010 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2010 THE rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beginning with a sigh of regret and ending with a sob of resignation, Brian Moore has created a character-driven novel of grief, sadness, and utter loneliness set in the shabby and bedraggled streets of Belfast during the 1950's. In spite of a dismal landscape, a series of blemished characters, and a profound aura of failure, this is a book of extraordinary beauty written in seamless prose. It is a work that is so cinematic in description that one need not know that the 1955 novel was transforme ...more
Moira Russell
Beautifully written, but (and?) glum, glum, glum and grim. Slightly reminiscent of Jean Rhys, except even more hopeless and drab -- Moore's prose style is good, but not as diamond-hard and faceted as hers, and the Rhys women at least get to rebel. This is the story from the other side, a life crushed into conformity. One of the few books I've read that manages to thoroughly de-mythologize Ireland (which also means un-Joyceing it, altho you can see a bit of Dubliners peeking out now and then). On ...more
Jan 04, 2017 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If I am alone it does not matter what life I lead. It does not matter. And if I die I am a dead thing. I have no eternal life. No one will remember me, no one will weep for me. No one will reward the good I have done, no one will punish the sins I have committed. No one."

sentimentos. vários.
Dhanaraj Rajan
Oct 22, 2013 Dhanaraj Rajan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, irish-lit
One of the saddest stories I have read in the recent times........

It is about a forty year old Catholic plain looking poor spinster (Judith Hearne) whose sole aim is to be married and to have a home to share with someone. Her sick aunt, under whose care Judith grew as a teenager and a young girl, sees to it that Judith never finds a man and a job for the aunt wanted Judith to be with her as a nurse till the end of her death. When the aunt dies, Judith is above thirty with no money, no job and no
Feb 09, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not an easy book to read, especially if you're intent on avoiding tales of depression and disintegration. Set in the 1950s in Belfast, in a very Catholic population among the larger Protestant majority, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore tells of a fortyish spinster who bets it all on a former hotel doorman who's been to America.

But alas, all that James Madden is interested in is not Judith, but finding an investment partner for opening an American style diner in Dublin.
Sep 25, 2013 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, 2013
The shoe eyes staring at Judith Hearne throughout the novel, accusing, laughing along, leering, laughing at. Finally indifferent, like all, nearly all she meets, particularly men. A masterful piece of writing, cleverly and so economically done. Some parts are from different povs which gets you through the plot in an efficient way, and gives sidelights and other views on the protagonist. The last few chapters when the character goes from address to address in her hired car is almost insanely econ ...more
Jun 17, 2011 Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ana by: Bookslut blog
Shelves: fiction
How to recommend a book full of utter despair and hopelessness? But I will.
This is a book that I'm envious of, envious of not having written it. Even if it was written 22 years before i was born ;o)

Moore managed to get himself inside the head of Judith in a brilliant way. Her yearning for something, some sort of connection, making her see things that weren't there. Hoping against hope that her situation will change even as she does almost nothing to change it.

I suppose this book couldn't really
May 05, 2008 Maureen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The plain, the unloved and the unlovable.
The titular lonely lady lives in a bedsit in a Belfast street I know well, as my parents own a house there which is rented out to students. I was therefore aware of this book from a young age, but it had an exotic taint to it, as it was anti-Church, and perhaps involved immoral living.

Anyway, I've read it now, and enjoyed it. I'm a little uneasy when a male writer attempts to get into the head of an unloved spinster, and I was occasionally alarmed by the unreformed sexual attitudes that one mus
Jan 22, 2013 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-favorite-read

Set in 1950's Belfast, The Lonely Passion of Miss Judith Hearne was originally published in 1922, and was even made into a movie in 1987.

Who is Judith Hearne and what's her story? She's a lonely, 40-something never married woman who was raised to set her sites on wealthy men. However, her life circumstances, of having cared for her Aunt Darcy coupled with her rather plain looks finds her now living on a small annuity left to her by her aunt. Judith's also a religious woman, who carries her fair
May 22, 2014 Allan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I'm well up on most of the current batch of novelists writing about Belfast, this book is only the second that I've read by Brian Moore, and as a result, I'll definitely be reading more of his body of work.

Originally published in 1955, we meet the novel's main protagonist, Judith Hearne, as she moves into a new boarding house on Camden Street, off the Lisburn Road in Belfast. As the novel progresses, we find out more about the character's personality, as well as how others see her through
Aug 25, 2009 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I understand why women used to join the nunnery: on this sodden Catholic island, there were few options for a homely girl with no income but to become a kept woman of Christ. Judith Hearne is a middle aged woman in decline, financially and otherwise -- and then her last chance at happiness ends farcically. The greatest tragedy of all is that in the fist-shaking rage, drunkenness, and faithlessness that accompany her nervous breakdown, we can discern the bare outline of the spirited woman she ...more
Terri Jacobson
Feb 06, 2014 Terri Jacobson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Judith Hearne is a spinster in her 40s who has just moved into new "digs" in Belfast, Ireland. Judith struggles to make ends meet by giving piano lessons and teaching an embroidery class. She has few friends and is quite lonely. Judith has lived alone since her great-aunt died--an aunt who she spent the years of her prime taking care of. She becomes attracted to her landlady's brother, and imagines a relationship much deeper than it in fact is . As her fantasies crumble, Judith turns to alcohol ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poor Judith! Brian Moore explores a young Irishwoman's descent into drunkenness. Her problems - (view spoiler) I am amazed at how Moore (male author) could so successfully portray her desperation.

Dec 11, 2011 Declan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland, nyrb
The most important element of a realist novel has to be its credibility; its true-to-life believability. If we start to doubt any aspect of the narrative then it simply fails and for me that was the problem with this novel. I began to feel that Miss Hearne was a device and not a character and so the novel was lost for me
Jan 03, 2013 Dhali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Utterly convincing and utterly depressing.
Wow. Well, this was an an excellently written book; I have never read Brian Moore and found him to be so skilled especially at expressing inner dialogue of the characters. I really plowed through this novel, finishing it in only 2 days, if for no other reason than to get it behind me and hopefully out of my system...I feel like I need to go on a sunny mountain hike or do some beach yoga as penance for delving into Judy Hearne's depressing life for the past 48 hours! This book was unexpectedly gr ...more
Joy H.
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955) by Brian Moore
Added 1/29/12.

I read this book many years ago and am just getting around to adding it to my Netflix shelves.

Today I streamed the movie adapted from this book. It stars Maggie Smith.
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987)
"Maggie Smith (who won a BAFTA Award for her nuanced pe
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Brian Moore (1921–1999) was born into a large, devoutly Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father was a surgeon and lecturer, and his mother had been a nurse. Moore left Ireland during World War II and in 1948 moved to Canada, where he worked for the Montreal Gazette, married his first wife, and began to write potboilers under various pen names, as he would continue to do throughout ...more
More about Brian Moore...

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“And maybe, although it was a thing you could hardly bear to think about, like death or your last judgment, maybe he would be the last one ever and he would walk away now and it would only be a question of waiting for it all to end and hoping for better things in the next world. But that was silly, it was never too late.” 5 likes
“For it was important to have things to tell which interested your friends. And Miss Hearne had always been able to find interesting happenings where other people would find only dullness. It was, she often felt, a gift which was one of the great rewards of a solitary life. And a necessary gift. Because, when you were a single girl, you had to find interesting things to talk about. Other women always had their children and shopping and running a house to chat about. Besides which, their husbands often told them interesting stories. But a single girl was in a different position. People simply didn’t want to hear how she managed things like accommodation and budgets. She had to find other subjects and other subjects were mostly other people. So people she knew, people she had heard of, people she saw in the street, people she had read about, they all had to be collected and gone through like a basket of sewing so that the most interesting bits about them could be picked out and fitted together to make conversation.” 3 likes
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