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Old 15th Jun 2007, 22:34   #21
Ang
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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Winking shoe eyes were for me just a technique to stop tears, so that Judith wouldn’t embarrass herself by crying in public. There’s something childish about it, and brings to mind a sad thought that Judith must have been doing that many times since she was a little girl.
How perceptive of you... I didn't figure that out... I noticed the repetition of it but nothing more. I think I'll seek out some of the passages and see how your theory fits. Thanks!

Edit: No, I won't - It takes me ages to find things, even this oft repeated phrase. I'll take your word for it.
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Old 15th Jun 2007, 22:39   #22
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

I thought Moore portrayed Judy's thoughts incredibly well. I don't think I've seen addiction and it's effects so well written before.

I was wondering whether to recommend this book to my husband. At first I thought not because I don't think he'd get the Catholic stuff. It's such a good book though, so I'm wondering if you have not had exposure to the Catholic Church, is it still as readable?
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Old 16th Jun 2007, 8:31   #23
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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I'm wondering if you have not had exposure to the Catholic Church, is it still as readable?
Yes
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Old 16th Jun 2007, 13:09   #24
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

Also yes. Of course it might have more resonance if you were brought up in the faith, but even so, through cultural osmosis most people know about the paraphernalia and general customs of Catholicism.
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Old 17th Jun 2007, 8:23   #25
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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One of the things I am enjoying most about this book is the way the author so effortlessly slips from the genaral happenings in the story into the thoughts of the characters and back. He is able to show the reader what everyone thinks at any given time without sidetracking, which adds a nice dimension to the novel and the characters.
...
Great stuff, indeed.
Well said, Megora. Moore is a master.

I would like to delve into the characters for this discussion. Judith is the obvious place to start.

There is reference to her appearning well brought up. Do we think that is the case? Does it explain her snobbiness towards Madden being a doorman? Was she brought up so well that she was unable to form a lasting relationship with any man, none being good enough? The reference is always to her ugliness, but ugliness (at least on the outside) does not stop one from forming lasting relationships.
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Old 17th Jun 2007, 8:29   #26
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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Also yes. Of course it might have more resonance if you were brought up in the faith, but even so, through cultural osmosis most people know about the paraphernalia and general customs of Catholicism.
Great, thanks. I'll put it in his to-be-read shelf.
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Old 17th Jun 2007, 15:21   #27
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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I would like to delve into the characters for this discussion. Judith is the obvious place to start.

There is reference to her appearning well brought up. Do we think that is the case? Does it explain her snobbiness towards Madden being a doorman? Was she brought up so well that she was unable to form a lasting relationship with any man, none being good enough? The reference is always to her ugliness, but ugliness (at least on the outside) does not stop one from forming lasting relationships.
Hm, I wouldn't word the questions this way, and that's why I find them hard to answer. I agree that Judith shows some snobbish attitudes, but I don't think it's something that dominates her character. She is a person who'd rather please people than confront them, this seems to me more basic trait of her character. Her aunt was an undeniable snob and a narrow-minded person, and Judith was influenced by that, no doubt (because it wasn't in her nature to question anyone in authority), but I don't think that is the core of the problem. You may not agree, but for me the problem is that she always did what she believed to be right - what she had been taught to be right - or she faced situations where she didn't have any real choice. And when she failed, she repented. Perfectly Christian one could say. And all that, somehow, doesn't make her a better person, "beautiful inside" - but a ridiculous spinster in a hopeless situation. By the way, I think Moore achieves great effect by presenting her current situation and her past using different writing techniques. The "now" of the story is presented in a detailed way, either by internal voices of Judith and other characters or by a more detached narrator, but always revealing to the reader her delusions, pettiness and absurd ideas (It was time for her morning hair-brushing exercise. She set great store by it: it kept one's hair dark, she said, and if you did not wash the hair, ever, it kept its sheen and colour) . The past (most of the chapter 9), is shown shortly and drily. In all probability, Judith was much more likeable person in her youth, but the author doesn't use that to appeal to the reader's sympathy. We don't have any tear-jerking accounts of her heroical efforts to take care for a mentally ill aunt, for example. I like that.
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Old 17th Jun 2007, 16:30   #28
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

I think these are great questions, Ang. Thanks for jumping in to drive the discussion further. They are tough questions and good food for thought. What drives Judith's apparent snobbishness and inability to form relationships? I concur with m. in that Judith's outward appearance is perfectly Christian, with the emphasis on perfect appearances. For some Christians, this is the most comforting thing about their faith, the rituals (Catholic or Protestant), the litany of proscribed and compulsory actions, the magical thinking such as Judith heavily relies upon. This perfect facade is also devoid of any real empathy or willingness to sully herself by reaching out to another person. Judith was not well brought up. Well brought up persons are taught to be kind to persons who do not benefit them and to encounter each person as an individual worthy of respect and consideration. A key component for social success is the elimination of the sort of thinking that identifies others as either useful or extraneous. People who are not well brought up do this, and it glaringly shows. Judith played a very common game, reducing others to a zero sum that revolved only around herself. She is the epitome of low class as exemplified by her snobbery.

I think m. is very on target with her observation that Judith would rather please people than confront them. Her entire nature does appear to be that of someone who can only function if she's appearing dutiful, especially regarding her aunt. But she's also made an attempt to internalize this behavior and punishes herself for her shortcomings, rather than coping with them in anything resembling healthy fashion. She's what we might see today as a poster girl for emotional repression and the outdated notion that keeping feelings stuffed (or drowned) is the way to manage them. A healthy Judith would have taken that tintype of Dear Auntie from the frame and drawn moustaches and goatees all over it, maybe ripped the photo to shreds, some way of acknowledging the awful treatment she received and the necessity of turning away from those who wreak damage. But she's unable to do this. And this is what feels like Moore's largest swipe against the church at that time or any organization that sets itself up as judge and jury for human behavior while wholly ignoring real human needs. Jesus, on the other hand, didn't do this. He met individuals where they needed connection and disregarded all the other things. And of course that's what got him crucified.

I think her inability to form any lasting relationship, not just with men, but more friendships in general, springs from the same emptiness that she tries to fill with drink. She has nothing to offer, no skill, no empathy, no warmth. And yet, Moore wrote her so tenderly that the reader finds his or herself feeling those very things toward Judy: warmth, empathy. Certainly there's nothing about her unattractiveness that couldn't have been rendered moot if she'd been interested in something. It's her hardline vacuousness that makes her ugly. The same characteristic when poured into a tanned, sleek, coiffed and manicured vessel comes through as nothing more than slicked up ugly. I can't help but think of Jane Eyre, unattractive but transformed by her character and strength into a most desirable woman. Which leads me back to Madden. He was playing the same game, wasn't he? Looking at Judith as only a means to an end, the most reprehensible sort of self-absorption. Granted, we all view one another initially in that animalistic sense when it comes to women looking at men and men looking at women. As adolescents, surely. But mature men and women don't sexualize one another to such extent. He found Judith intelligent and interesting at first. But his own deficiencies won't allow him to grow a friendship. What does everyone think about him? And Bernard?

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Old 17th Jun 2007, 17:00   #29
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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I can't help but think of Jane Eyre,
Even better comparison is Lucy Snowe from Villette. Great post, Beth.
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Old 17th Jun 2007, 21:27   #30
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Default Re: Book 32 - THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE by Brian Moore

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Even better comparison is Lucy Snowe from Villette.
Yes, Villette is a must read. Thanks, m., I tend to get too general and waxy about things. Today, I'll blame Harold Bloom! I listened to booktv yesterday while preparing dinner and he was talking about what he sees as the necessity of incorporating literary characters into our lives, just as though they are real people. A snippet
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