The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Paperback Book

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne Paperback

Part of the Harper Perennial Modern Classics series

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


A timeless classic dealing with the complexity and hardships of relationships, addiction and faith.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.


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Life has not been kind to Judith Hearne. Having spent her prime years caring for a demented aunt, she finds herself living alone in a Belfast boarding house, virtually friendless, with her Catholic faith crumbling whilst a growing fondness for alcohol blooms in its place. Her last tenuous chance at romance appears to lie with middle-aged bounder James Madden, a fellow boarder who befriends the naive spinster he imagines is an educated woman of considerable means. All this seems like a recipe for disaster and it is; Judith Hearne's modest life quickly unravels in compelling detail.I don't think I've ever read a more eloquent portrait of a woman in crisis than this one. Many male authors seem to stumble blindly when writing about women, yet Brian Moore has created a complex character who is by turns irritating and heartbreaking. The book is bleak, focusing as it does on the private, almost shameful nature of loneliness and doubt. But <i>The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne</i> is also a masterpiece.

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