Frank's Reviews > The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore
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's review
Feb 21, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: irish-authors
Read from February 21 to March 05, 2012 — I own a copy

I first read this many years ago, probably after seeing the film version with Bob Hoskins and Maggie Smith (in the title rôle). I'd forgotten how lovely and sad it was. Miss Hearne is a spinster in the forties; orphaned as a young girl she was raised by a distant aunt—also a spinster—whose sense of propriety and religious intolerance hobble any sense of independence and fun in Judy’s character. After nursing the older woman, she finds herself alone, descending into a genteel shabbiness of rooming houses on the Catholic fringe of mid-century Belfast. Her two sources of comfort are the Church and, alas, the bottle. It’s when the effects of the latter cause her to question the validity of the former that the tenuous structure of her existence comes crashing down. Brian Moore writes brilliantly and lovingly about Judith Hearne; although the portrait is unsparing, it is not uncaring.

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