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Brian Moore

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1989. 78pp, paper, $4.95
ISBN 0-7710-6090-4. (M&S paperbacks). CIP

Grades 11 and up/Ages 16 and up
Reviewed by Kenneth Elliott.

Volume 17 Number 4
1989 July

The wide experience of the author from Belfast has enriched his ability as a novelist. Moore's first work, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, was published in 1955. It catapulted him on to the literary scene. His crisp style and rich characterization make his work popular.

In Moore's present little volume his penchant for imagery and intrigue is at its best. In the space of an average size calculator, Moore gives the reader the cause for the waning of the Roman Catholic Church in the closing decade of the twentieth century.

The story, which has all the power of an allegory, lakes place in Ireland on the island of Muck. The time frame is projected into the future, after Vatican Council IV. Father James Kinsella, an investigator from Rome, is sent to Much Island to convince the Abbot of the Albanesian religious order to stop saying the mass in Latin.

The setting of the novel is engulfed by storm clouds and fog. Everywhere there are ominous signs, and the pathos is unbearable in the shattering climax when the abbot confronts his monks in the closing pages. Moore depicts graphically the fundamental inability of the Church authorities to handle the reformation of the Church itself.

The most obvious use of Catholics is in religion classes, especially in adult discussion groups. Its brevity and depth also make it an ideal classroom choice for the older student.

Kenneth Elliott, Laval Catholic High School, Chomedey, Que.
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