Lies of Silence

Lies of SilenceWhen Michael Dillon Is Ordered By The IRA To Park His Car In The Carpark Of A Belfast Hotel, He Is Faced With A Moral Choice Which Leaves Him Absolutely Nowhere To Turn He Knows That He Is Planting A Bomb That Would Kill And Maim Dozens Of People But He Also Knows That If He Doesn T, His Wife Will Be Killed First published in 1990, Lies of Silence is one of those novels I ve been meaning to read for a long time I ve had this little Bloomsbury Classic edition in my TBR pile for years, so when I was casting about for something quick and compelling to read it seemed like a good fit I wasn t wrong From the first word, this is the kind of gripping read that makes your pulse race Set during the height of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, it thrusts one man into a moral quandary on the day he plans to tell his wife he s leaving her for another, much younger, woman, the IRA orders him to park a car in the car park of the Belfast hotel he manages Without knowing the specifics, he believes the vehicle contains a bomb But if he refuses to carry out the task, his wife, who has been taken captive, will be murdered if he does what he s told hundreds of hotels guests will be killed by the ensuing explosion Whichever course of action he takes, there will be far reaching and deadly repercussions In this intelligent, well paced novel, we see the themes of sacrifice, love, religion and war play out on a relatively small canvas It is not your average psychological thriller Yes, it s a real page turner, but the prose style, almost old fashioned with an undercurrent of menace to it, lends it a literary feel I loved it. Was forced to read it for school, the writing was terrible, the characters were boring, and the pace was annoying Didn t honestly care what happened at the end, and I was right since the end was terrible.Definitely won t be re reading this one She said she liked the Irish much better than the English because they re fun But what was it she saw in him He did not smoke pot or like rock concerts as she did He was not knowing in bed like she was He was married and hiding their affair from his wife His job must seem boring to her He was a failed poet in a buisness suit And yet me believed although he could not explain why that she loved him From the moment she had said it to him, here on the towpath, they had seen each other almost every day Often the would meet for an hour and in a rush of desire go to the hotel, get a key, and make love in an unbooked room Yet he did not think of this as an affair He had never been unfaithful before He was filled with the excitment of being in love and sick of the fear of losing her He knew that girls her age got crushes on married men And got over it Warning Light SpoilersBefore anyone asks no I did not chose to read this book out of my free will Unfortunately my class and I were forced to read this godforsaken thing by our peers Because if I did pick up Lies Of Silence and read the first few pages, I would have thrown it away and ran screaming out of the bookstore As you guys know I am not one to go into a book expecting to hate it Quite the opposite in fact whenever I have finished a poorly written book, by knee jerk reaction is to give it a two star rating and try to highlight the good as minute as they are But in good conscious I cannot do that with this book because Lies of Silence has to be one of the worst books I have ever read in my life.From the characters, the plot, the writing everything within this book is just horrendous Whenever I picked this thing up all I felt was a sinking feeling in my stomach and when I did summon enough courage to read some of it, I would have to put it back down after one page and get back to it almost a day later When talking about the book to my friends I told them, I now understand why most of you dislike reading This book broke me BROKE ME.So, what makes this monstrosity tick Well I m going to tell you.Set in Belfast in the 1980s, the story begins with Micheal Dillon finishing up his day at the hotel and meeting with his girlfriend, Andrea The two love birds decide that they will move to London the next day to begin their lives together Dillon agrees, and starts to plan how he ll leave his wife However before he can get the chance to do so members of the IRA burst into his home and hold him and his wife, Moria, hostage The men force Dillon to drive his bomb laden car to the hotel he manages in order to kill a leading Protestant reverend, members of the Orange Order, and militant Protestants, all of whom are attending the same function If he does not comply then Moria would be killed They said, If you re not out of the hotel car park five minutes after you go in, we ll know you double crossed us If i get out of this car now and walk away, Pottinger and his Canadian friends will be blown away He stood, staring They were schoolteacers, civil servents, small business people they had families in France who depended on them He looked back at the windows of the Emerald Room where Pottinger s Canadian supporters had begun to applaud they, too, have families who depend on them.And I have Moria Moria, who I planned to leave So Dillion says to himself, Fuck the wife I have to save the strangers who were told specifically to stay out of Ireland and calls the police before the bomb can harm anyone From this point on his life has changed forever he will now have to live in fear of the consequences his actions might bring him Or that s what we were told is supposed to happen To be honest the rest of the book is just Dillon going about his daily life until he is relocated elsewhere, and after that the book abruptly ends Sure the author tells you that he s nervous, but this book tells you a lot of things but never shows squat We are told Dillon loves Andrea and not Moria, but we are never shown We are told he s miserable, but we are never shown We are told he fears for his life, however it is never proven in his actions.A great example is when Dillon mentions he has gotten a call from one of the investigators to Andrea, and this is her response Come on, let s have another drink I m shaking You d think it was me they d called You see a skilled author would have had Dillon look down at her hands and notice them shake, showing that Dillon cares about Andrea s feelings and make the writing seem less lazy, however it is apparent to me that Brian Moore is far from a skilled author He must have been out the day his English teacher taught the Show, Don t Tell technique as this is a problem that constantly pops up in the novel It never builds upon the story but rather point them out like the reader is an imbecile Not only does it show off your indolence but also makes the dialogue stilted.Another example would be how Moore depicted the IRA men who came into Dillon s home Instead of bringing a layer of maturity to a very dark period in Irish history, Moore decides to depict them as caricatures One is described as fat and lazy, one is spotty and feminine, they are all vicious and ugly, etc They were or less old school Disney villains rather than people.There are even aspects to the writing which were how should I say Questionable. The jiggling foot stopped The gunman leaned forward in his chair, holding the revolver between his thighs, pointing it at Moria like some reptilian penis Blinking his small eyes, he stared her up and down, from her slender body, her pale face, her long, dark, tumbled hair It was a stare so overtly sexual Dillon, watching, stiffened and sat tense I can t be the only one who questions how Moore phrases his descriptions I mean what the frick frack was he was thinking while comparing a gun to a reptile s penis And folk it only gets weirder from here I would be than happy to oblige you all with quotes taken from the frequent and unnecessary sex scene, but I just don t have the strength I ll leave those little treasures for someone else to dig up Let s just say they were all hilarious and disturbing.However since I m so nice I will offer a sneak peek He could not speak He sat on the bed, stroking her back, his hand moving up and down the arch of her buttocks until, rolling over, she pulled him down on her, straining her naked body against his as though she would fold them into one person And then, reunited, they entered that eclipse of time, the act of making love Andrea and Dillon make love around five times They do not add up to anything at all but the author put them in anyway, later inspiring E L James in writing her erotic Twilight fanfiction that will later become the international bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.It is very noticeable that no one edited Lies of Silence as the writing style is inconsistent Most of the time it s told in third person but sometimes it changes to first, sometimes Dillion s thoughts are in italics but the majority of the time they aren t, and some chapter are short and snappy but other s it s nothing but a wall of text Don t believe me on that last complaint Don t get me ever started on the grammar Dear lord there were so many simple mistakes I wanted to stick a pencil in my eyes The one that got me the most was the line where forever one single word was broken up into two words instead Slips are made during the first draft of the novel, not the finished product A few might allude the editor, yes, however it should not be constant I think I have efficiently established that the writing sucks, so we shall move onto the characters Unsurprisingly the characters and setting are flat and gloriously sterile In the end of the book view spoiler Dillon is presumably killed hide spoiler The moral dilemmas that we face under conflict are brought out brilliantly in this novel set in the 80 s during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.Michael Dillon, a poet turned hotel manager, is coming to the end of his marriage to his beautiful but bulimic wife Moira Being Catholic, divorce is an ugly word, and severely frowned upon by his parents Yet Michael has fallen for a much younger Canadian woman and is about to decamp with her for London On the eve of him telling his wife that he is leaving her, their home is invaded by the IRA Michael is ordered to drive a bomb in his car back to his hotel the following morning His choice is clear kill many people at the hotel, including some prominent Protestant agitators, and save Moira from being killed by their captors, or vice versa.The plot moves through the quotidian activities of going to work, returning home, moving about the claustrophobic city of Belfast with its myriad military checkpoints and watchers , and all the while this activity is infused by a sense of menace, that something will go wrong, something will end Dialogue is also very conversational, mirroring normal life, and yet we know that nothing in this place is normal.By placing his characters in this crucible of doom, Moore explores key themes the moral choices made under stress, the artist who gives up his vocation to earn a paycheque, the pervasiveness of religion in Irish society, falling in love only for superficial beauty, needy love that skirts physical danger, and the lies of silence The lies are what this community has been living with, for the IRA and its Protestant counterpart, the UDA, have lost credibility with the local populace and are seen as thugs and bullies, no longer advocating on their behalf And yet, no one is prepared to take on the IRA for fear of being harmed.The events with the bombing force Michael, and Moira, into making another moral choice to confront the lies and strike back, each in their own way, each to the other s detriment And the last half of the book moves towards the outcome of that decision.I was left wondering that if cell phones were ubiquitous then as they are today, much of the plot of this novel would have had to be re worked, and even the outcome may have been different And whether in Michael Dillon s day those who looked terrorism in the eye had much of a chance for global media attention as the Malala Yousafzai s of today have Moore s conclusion also points to why he gave up on his native country, adopted Canadian citizenship, and lived abroad for the rest of his life. Lies of Silence is very much a book of its time In 1990 the Troubles in Ireland were very much part of daily life and daily news Brian Moore s central theme revolves around personal conscience, personal dilemma, personal conflicting interests this is a universal quandary which can be applied to many of us, in a variety of circumstances The Northern Ireland backdrop, though, is unique Moore captures the atmosphere in Belfast in 1990 perfectly Sectarian conflict a Catholic would never get a job if a Protestant was up for it 101 Political paralysisLies told over the years to poor Protestant working people, lies told to poor Catholic working people.lies at funerals and orations, and, above all, lies of silence from those in Westminster who did not want to face the injustices of Ulster s status quo49 I read this book as part of The Mookse and The Gripes group revisit of the 1990 Booker shortlist.It s fascinating to revisit previous writing eras collectively, and the 1980 list featured No Country for Young Men also a parable of the times in Ireland.Against such a backdrop I think that Lies of Silence is an excellent read, and makes me deeply thoughtful about recent history, and the nature of religion and peoples commitments to causes that feel and look very different looking backwards in time. What a load of garbage The characters were shallow and two dimentional, the setting and atmosphere was dull as dishwater and by the time I put this book down I was seriously depressed.And the worst part, I had to finish it as it was part of my comparative study course in English.Anyone with a choice should run for the hills before picking this one up. This was a big waste of my time Dillon is despicable and very stupid man He is a coward who is constantly looking for a way to get rid of his guilt cheating on his wife, taking responsibility for his actions, etc and is unable to stick to a decision Other than that, the women were also unbelievably naiv and extremely annoying I really disliked their portrayal I regret reading this garbage book. He looked up at the masked face of the IRA gunman We usually take a pint They waited in silence, hearing the footsteps of the milkman crossing the avenue coming in their direction There was the sound of their front gate opening, the chink of bottles, and the gate shut again The van moved onI read this as part of the 2019 Mookse Madness tournament.This book shortlisted for the 1990 Booker prize is an examination of the troubles in Northern Ireland and features a literal milkman as seen in the quote above , a rather nice link to the winner of the 2018 Booker Prize Anna Burns Milkman.Michael Dillon, has reluctantly returned to Belfast from London, asked by his hotel group to turn around a faous hotel in the City Dillon is having an affair with a young Canadian BBC journalist and, when she is offered a job with the BBC in London, he promises her he will tell his glamorous, bulimic wife Moira who by congtrast to him was delighted to return to Northern Ireland that he is leaving her and will ask to be transferred back to London That night however Dillon is ordered by the IRA at the threat of them killing Moira to park his car at the hotel, so they can detonate a bomb they have placed in it Brian Moore s early novels, published in Canada, were thrillers before he moved on to literary fiction This novel seemed to me to be an uneary compromise effectively the worst of both worlds A thriller style set up but without very much of the thrill the plot slightly too dominated literary style by important decisions which are waived or postponed or coherence Dillon is paraniod about being followed on a drive, and about IRA people being undercover, which is understandable given what has happened to him but does not explain why pages earlier he allowed a man he did not know to speak to him privately just because he is wearing an Ulster lapel badge But one which is too often drifts into the rather straightforward and explosition sic heavy writing style of a thriller.In respect of the latter the comparison to Anna Burns novel does not to this book any favourCompare and contrast Mr Harbison would never fight a civiil war to prevent Ulster from becoming a part of the Irish Republic, or take up arms to affirm his status as a citizen of the United Kingdom Mr Harbison, like ninety per cent of the people of Ulster, Catholic and Protestant, just wanted to get on with his life without any interference from men in woolen masksTo the distinctive literary voice of At this time, in this place, when it came to the political problems, which included bombs and guns and death and maiming, ordinary people said their side did it or our side did it , or their religion did it or our religion did it or they did it or we did it , when what was really meant was defenders of the state did it or renouncers of the state did it or the state did it Now and then we might make an effort and say defender or renouncer that flag of the country from over the water which was also the same flag of the community from over the roadA contrast which was unfortunately rather shadowed in the opening withAt a quarter to nine, just before going to work, Dillon went down to reception to check the staff roster for tomorrowAs opposed to The day Somebody McSomebody put a gun to my breast and called me a cat and threatened to shoot me was the same day the milkman died He had been shot by one of the state hit squads and I did not care about the shooting of this man Others did care though, and some were those who, in the parlance, knew me to see but not to speak toOverall this was an enjoyable and easy reading novel one which shows the difficult impossible choices compromises which can be forced in the political arena, but one which in a literary sense is flattered not just by a link to Anna Burns but by the company it kept on the 1990 Booker prize in a year whose included Possession , A Gate of Angels and An Awfully Big Adventure. This going to be of a rant..but I really need to let my feelings out I think this is one of the worst books I ve read in ages the only reason I finished it was because it s for school The characters are boring and I really didn t care for them throughout the book The pacing was terrible and I wasn t gripped by anything that happened The author actually managed to make the whole plot incredibly dull The whole thing was dragged out so much that I was anticipating for a good twist at the end but was disappointed He was shot oh wow He deserved it He was an annoying, indecisive bastard His wife was equally irritating Keep away from this book

Brian Moore 1921 1999 was born into a large, devoutly Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland His father was a surgeon and lecturer, and his mother had been a nurse Moore left Ireland during World War II and in 1948 moved to Canada, where he worked for the Montreal Gazette, married his first wife, and began to write potboilers under various pen names, as he would continue to do throughout

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  • Paperback
  • 208 pages
  • Lies of Silence
  • Brian Moore
  • 08 October 2019
  • 9781784875527

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