What if you are about to leave your wife, because you love someone else. And suddenly you get involved in a big conflict without wanting it. You are having the biggest dilemmas in your whole life. And you must make choices, because the lives of other people depend on it. But these choices will also determine your future. This is the situation the main character of the book ”Lies of Silence”, written by Brian Moore, Michael Dillon gets involved in. After finishing this book I really started to think about making choices. And that’s why the question: ” What would I do? ” was the first question I asked myself.
The book is about a hotel manager named Michael Dillon,who lives in Belfast ( Northern Ireland ) with his wife Moira. Michael is planning to leave Moira, because he doesn’t love her and because he has a girlfriend named Andrea. One night when Michael and his wife are sleeping, a group of masked guys from the IRA ( Irish Republican Army) come into their house and they hold them hostage. The IRA wants Michael to drive with his own car to the car park of the hotel at which he works. The IRA placed bombs in his car, because they want to kill Pottinger, a speaker from the Orange Order. If Michael calls the police, the IRA will kill his wife. If he doesn’t innocent people will die. On the other hand there is Andrea. The choices he has to make at that moment are very difficult and vital choices.
The main subject of this book is “The Troubles”. An ethnic conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics about the constitution of Northern Ireland from late 1960’s to 1998. Brian Moore the author was very acclaimed for the description in his novels about life in Northern Ireland after 1945, especially about The Troubles. Because of his passion for writing he was awarded different kinds of prizes and he was nominated for many awards including The Man Booker Prize for ‘’Lies of Silence’’ in 1990. Except being a novelist Brian Moore was also a screenwriter. He wrote different kinds of screenplays for movies.
What I really found great about this book, was the way it described the situation at every moment. So understanding the situation and having a clear image of everything was very easy. The story made me really curious and it was really hard to put the book down.
”…It is happening. It is happening just as they planned it. We are all part of the team. I, the delivery boy, that girl, the people in the white Ford, the masked ones at my house. The bomb is in place. It will go off any minute now. I have one more thing to do. Buy something here, cigarettes, sweets, so that they will have time to bring the taxi up. When I get in the green taxi it will all be over..” page 69
It’s a gripping story and that’s why Lies of Silence is such a great book. I wasn’t really surprised about the positive acclaim from the whole world about this book:
“Moore’s most powerful, meaningful and timely novel ” by the Publishers Weekly
“Once again Brian Moore proves his astonishing versatility and compelling humanity as a writer.” by the Toronto Sun
“Characteristically first rate… intelligent… brilliant.” by the New York Times
In an interview Brian Moore compared life in Northern Ireland with the situation in Kuwait and Iraq:
”We’re in a position now where any of us could be hostages, and that can create the dilemma of loyalty to family versus saving the lives of others.” Interview by The New York Times
Before reading this book I had no idea about the Troubles and how bad it was. Now I’m aware that even in a European country those kind of things could happen, even as bad as in Iraq like Brian Moore mentioned. This book made me think about this. I think that was exactly what Brian Moore wanted his readers to do with this book. So a very recommendable book for everyone, who wants to think about things that can change our lives and about making vital and very important choices!