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Old 20th Jun 2007, 21:10   #61
Ang
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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No, and you should leave it as it is too!
I see it now... how funny... strange that I couldn't spot it even when I knew there was a mistake.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 12:52   #62
Lizzy Siddal
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Default Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

Just to let you know that I gulped JH down in two sittings - accompanied, appropriately, with a bottle of red.

Don't really have anything to add to the comments on the thread, although I feel more empathy than pity towards Judith. (Possibly because a member of my book group gave me this book along with the statement "that could so easily have been me .....".)

There are, unfortunately, many Judiths in our C21st society and they're not all Irish Catholics. It's a more universal experience than that. The same is true of the Maddens of this world .... which explains the novel's continuing success.

Anyway I rate the novel and once I've seen the film, I shall post my book-to-movie blog entry.
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Old 20th Nov 2007, 6:52   #63
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Post Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

An intricate novel. Think JS's, m.'s and Ang's points about the language of Catholic devotion - in its very specific committed sense - are important. Going back to the vision and presence of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we do come to "passion" ... which in its Latin root (patior) means "bear, carry, (one physical aspect), suffer, allow, permit, undergo ..." - passion in all these modes offer a more complex Judith.

The particular "devotion" to the Sacred Heart is based on a vision of French nun, St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque (1647-90)- and is very much of its time and culture. In her vision Christ appears - a new image of a gentler, lonely Christ. Wiki is OK for the image and especially for Christ's twelve promises; atypically they offer many comforts and reminders of his love - that wounded heart - and no punitive threats.(Google Sacred Heart of Jesus for the promises.) No wonder Judith is drawn to this icon of simultaneous suffering and comfort. And intimacy: "Behold the Heart that has so loved humans ... my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour."

Shutting my ears to R. Ebert's horrible prose, I'm still taken with a little part of his Chicago-Sun Times review of the wonderful Maggie Smith in the film as Judith: "[Maggie] plays the role with well prerehearsed precision, showing ... that for the alcoholic Miss Hearne, this [devotion to the bottle] is a ritual."

Janet Maslin in the NYT review (Nov. 19, '07) also admires the film as "typical of the "muted emotion" oeuvre of director Jack Layton." I think Judith isn't vacuous, Beth, if we take vacuous only in its 21st C. meaning, empty. (Not sure if that's what you meant. ) I think she's following an ancient, active if desperate form of love - a form of love which she's poised on the edge of losing.

It's tempting to think of parallels between Sr. M. M. Alacoque and Judith; it works best, I think, if we can briefly escape the secularism of our own western tradition, and capture the intensity of certain devoutly religious convent women. Paradoxically the convent gave some women, even the flawed and impaired, some alternative to the larger patriarchal church.
Specifically, women like Alacoque drove deep into the intrinsic value of prayer, meditation and love. They were ultimately recognized for their continuous contemplation and praise of Christ. We could argue that Judith does this too, her ritual dark and flawed, perhaps like Greene's "whiskey priest" in The Power and the Glory. But her prayers are a murmuring flow of loyalty, despite her own weakness, and despite the treachery and the inadequate vision of others.
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Old 20th Nov 2007, 6:59   #64
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Default Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

I'm thankful to Lizzy and aemy for bringing this thread back to the fore, reminding me how good this book is. I haven't seen the film, but it sounds like a must-see.
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Old 20th Nov 2007, 9:02   #65
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Post Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

Hi Ang -

Couldn't resist the quotations! And the fool-proof cookies.
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Old 20th Nov 2007, 11:29   #66
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Default Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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Couldn't resist the quotations! And the fool-proof cookies.
It took me ages to find the mistake again. I thought someone must have fixed it (again!).
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Old 13th Mar 2008, 12:46   #67
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Default Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

Coming to this rather late...

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There are, unfortunately, many Judiths in our C21st society and they're not all Irish Catholics. It's a more universal experience than that.
And yet, her Catholicism added a specificity to the character and to her circumstances. It was when Judith began to lose her faith that her world truly unravelled. Until then, she somehow had the strength (and delusion) to toil on, finding yet another crummy room after disgracing herself, time and again.

Having said that, I would agree that acute loneliness and poverty is universal, although changing somewhat with women being more able to support themselves now than in the time of Judith Hearne.
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Old 13th Mar 2008, 19:48   #68
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Default Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

Better late than never!

And if she weren't Catholic, we wouldn't have had the benefit of the bored priest in the confessional. That was class.
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Old 11th Mar 2011, 10:09   #69
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Default Re: Book 32: THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

Almost exactly 3 years later...

I think it's interesting to compare and contrast the characters of Judith and Madden. Madden - his compulsion to rape Mary is presented like Judith's need to drink (example: the self-loathing that comes after the event) and I agree with those who say there are hints that it's something he has struggled with in the past. And that he seems to be as much of an alcoholic as she; as a man of course, his drinking is more socially acceptable than hers. Looking at how Catholic guilt affects them respectively: objectively his sin is the greater but he suffers less for it than she does; partly because his is less visible, partly because of social mores, partly because his guilt-feeling seems to evaporate quickly whilst Judith's stays with her and torments her, perhaps because she seems more self-obsessed than he.
 
The question of whether Passion is meant as in Christ's passion - I think we're meant to remember that in the height of Christ's suffering, he did once question 'why hast thou forsaken me?' which is a parallel of Judith's asking whether God is indeed in the tabernacle. The climactic scene, to be I suppose rather fanciful about it, is almost a role-reversed Pieta, Judith, with blood on her head, in the arms of a Father. It's not that I think Moore is putting her suffering on a par with Christ's - although arguably Christ's suffering only has meaning if you believe that his suffering and death was on behalf of mankind.

I don't know if I can honestly say that I enjoyed the book; unlike some, I didn't really feel any warmth towards Judith, only a measure of pity. My experience of the passages describing Mr Lenehan's and Miss Friel's impression also wasn't as favourable as others' seems to have been and I found they interrupted the flow, rather. As an artistic achievement, I think the book is impressive though.
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