The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

Brian Moore

Judith Hearne, a Catholic middle-aged spinster, moves into yet another bed-sit in Belfast. A socially isolated woman of modest means, she teaches piano to a handful of students to pass the day. Her only social activity is tea with the O’Neill family, who secretly dread her weekly visits. Judith soon meets wealthy James Madden and fantasises about marrying this lively, debonair man. But Madden sees her in an entirely different light, as a potential investor in a business proposal. On realising that her feelings are not reciprocated, she turns to an old addiction – alcohol. Having confessed her problems to an indifferent priest, she soon loses her faith and binges further. She wonders what place there is for her in a world that so values family ties and faith, both of which she is without.

Reviews of The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

  • ‘Remarkable…seldom in modern fiction has any character been revealed so completely or been made to seem so poignantly real.’ New York Times

    ‘I can’t think of another living male novelist who writes about women with such sympathy and understanding.’ Times Literary Supplement

    ‘Moore is surely one of the most versatile and compelling novelists writing today.’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘A powerful haunting story by a young Irish-Canadian who knows the meaning not only of loneliness, but that of compassion as well.’ New York Times

    ‘An almost classic example of the power given by unity of theme…Moore reveals all the qualities of a born novelist.’ Sunday Times

    Praise for Brian Moore:

    ‘From his first to his last novel, Moore has an uncanny ability to imagine his way into the emotions and sexuality of his characters…there aren’t many writers who do this comparably well – Flaubert, Chekhov, Julian Barnes, William Trevor come to mind.’ Hermione Lee

    ‘Brian Moore leads the field with a style that can only be called immaculate.’ Guardian

    ‘Brian Moore’s versatility, his lifelong refusal to keep writing the same book over again, is too much taken for granted. He writes simply and economically, but with a true generosity of vision.’ Observer