1 Volrajas

Lies Of Silence Brian Moore Essay

Lies of Silence is a novel by Brian Moore published in 1990. It focuses on the personal effects of The Troubles, a period of ethnic, religious and political conflict in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to 1998.


The plot revolves around the protagonist, Michael Dillon, and his wife, Moira Dillon, who are held hostage in their house by terrorists which are members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). The men force Dillon, an apolitical hotel manager, 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. Various aspects of female psychology are also present throughout the novel, including Dillon's extramarital affair with Canadian writer Andrea and Moira's mental breakdown following the revelation of his infidelity.[1]


Upon its publication, Lies of Silence received positive acclaim internationally. Publishers Weekly described it as "Moore's most powerful, meaningful and timely novel",[2] the Toronto Sun said that "once again Brian Moore proves his astonishing versatility and compelling humanity as a writer," the Irish Independent noted that "the writing is crisp and taut" and that "the moral crises [...] are intensely complex and gripping,"[3] and the New York Times described it as "characteristically first rate... intelligent... brilliant."[4]Lies of Silence was one of six books shortlisted for the 1990 Man Booker Prize.[5]

Lies of Silence is a choice for English comparative study for the Leaving Certificate in schools in Ireland.[1]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ ab"Exam Centre Leaving cert: Lies of Silence". www.skoool.ie. Skoool. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  2. ^Publishers Weekly. Amazon.com: Lies of Silence (9780385415149): Brian Moore: Books. Amazon. ASIN B0108EQO3Y. 
  3. ^Reviews sourced from blurb and pg. 3 of Lies of Silence, Vintage Books 1999 edition. ISBN 978-0-09-999810-5.
  4. ^Prose, Francine (September 2, 1990). "The Reluctant Terrorist". New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  5. ^"Prize Archive 1990". The Man Booker Prizes. Archived from the original on November 21, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  6. ^ abc"Lies of Silence". Good Reads. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 

Lies of Silence

Current Status
In Season
Brian Moore
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

According to the publicity for Brian Moore’s Lies of Silence, Graham Greene has designated the expatriate native of Belfast as his ”favorite living novelist.” No wonder. As the patron saint of bad faith and impossible situations, Greene himself couldn’t have crafted a more compelling example of the antiheroic thriller than Moore’s latest: the drama of an ordinary man with a rather more than ordinarily muddled sex life who is trapped in a politically charged situation in which all his options are bad ones.

In his youth, Michael Dillon, the protagonist of Moore’s 16th novel, planned to become a poet. He’s had the bar of the Belfast hotel he manages decorated with photographs of Irish bards and singers. By the age of 38, however, Dillon realizes that, as with his father and grandfather, ”his ambition in life had shrunk to a vision of himself as a head flunky in morning clothes, a glori ed servant, condemned to smile and turn the other cheek.”

Dillon’s marriage to the exceptionally beautiful Moira has turned to gall and mutual recrimination. Obsessed by the idea that Dillon married her only for the envy she excites in other men’s eyes, and fearful that her beauty is fading, Moira has become bulimic and despairing. ”Nothing I do suits you,” she shouts at him. ”You hate me, you hate this house. . . you hate your own country.” Though he doesn’t hate his wife, Dillon comes home one night meaning to announce that he has fallen in love with a young Canadian reporter and plans to follow her to London. After a shattering row, he loses his courage. He will tell Moira in the morning.

But by morning, Dillon needs a different sort of courage. During the night their little home in the tidy suburbs of Belfast has been invaded by the bloody-minded boyos of the Irish Republican Army. Having ascertained that hotel security routinely waves the manager’s car through the daily search for suspicious packages, the revolutionaries have conceived a plan: Dillon will drive to work exactly on time and park in his usual place beneath the Clarence’s dining room. He will then leave the lot, speaking to no one. After the bomb explodes, Moira will be released unharmed. Should he deviate from the plan, she will be murdered. Regardless of which way he turns, Dillon seems fated to end up with blood on his hands. The question is, whose?

Flawlessly plotted and written with a spare eloquence familiar to readers of Moore’s previous novels, Lies of Silence needs no superheated rhetoric to hold readers grimly fascinated by its haunting evocation of the modern condition. Desperately wishing to reenter the ”safe anonymous river of ordinary life,” Dillon can find no easy way back. Possibly none exists, the logic of Moore’s memorable novel seems to imply, in a world where only fanatics know exactly what they think. A

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *