in the 70s it wasn‘t until l.e Mom/e questioned the i ethics of this pardon that his case was highlighted ' and in 1992 he was eventually captured in a Nice priory and sentenced to life imprisonment.‘
The gertn of this novel was planted decades ago when a young Moore landed with the British in the south of France in l944. while the Germans were ﬂeeing. Thereafter he took a keen interest in French politics. especially the Touvier case. and the whole
concept of post-war French guilt. which was finally
confirmed in an astonishing statement made this year
by Jack Chirac. the new Conservative premier. ‘The , heart of the novel seeks to probe this post war mood.‘ says Moore. ‘After World War II the church. the government and most French people wanted to obliterate the past.‘ Somewhat controversially, he adds: ‘De Gaulle managed to convince the French that they resisted but in fact most of them didn't and it took until this year for'Chirac to admit that the French in fact helped send thousands of Jews to concentration camps.‘
Moore may have chosen a labyrinthian topic with more double-guesses and double-bluffs than the US game show Jeopardy. but his literary qualities never falter. lie guides us through the maze of intrigue
Disrobing the church
In his latest novel The Statement. Irish novelist in exile Brian Moore dislodges a few skeletons lurking in the Catholic Church‘s vestries. He speaks to Ann Donald.
Much like his admirer (iraham (.ireene. who bills the Northern Irishman as the greatest living noyelist. Brian Moore is an author not averse to interweaving that powerful bastion. the Roman (‘atholic (’hurch into many of his spare but intense literary thrillers
lt looms in prize-winning hooks like Blot-k Robe.
Brian Moore: exploring a controversial minefield '
Lies 0/ Silenee and lllt‘ ('o/our ()1 Blood. seeping .lools begin to slam in the fugitive‘s face as ’ inherent to each governmental. church and police through via protagonists. morality or politics. In this Brossard's friends and protectors in high places begin l faction with a perspicacity that only intensifies the latest heart-stopping novel his seventeenth the to fear for their own hides. ? hunt for the vile Brossard.
Canadian exile has zoomed in on a controversial As the exiled Moore explains from his Nova Scotia 3 Inherent to the novel is that most particular of “llllCllCld mill lllCl'l'lllllillC-S “0! Ulll)’ th (‘illlmlls‘ home. the roman—a—clef has its roots in fact not I Catholic attributes: guilt. Was Moore shocked by Church. bttt successive post-war French govermnents what emerged as the Church's complicity in the
: ; s -\u\ 3-; .,",'.')t . g , .g. . - -, I. r x) xx *"ld 1" WU“ cm“ "W"- ‘After world war II the church, the . affair. Absolutely. yes. httt I also saw that there vvcrc
different degrees of guilt.‘ lle qualities this citing various examples: "l‘he Vatican was guilty of handing out passports to collaborators to get them to South America and the Americans went straight out
The Statement has as its central character an odious
Nazi collaborator. Pierre lirossard —- ‘I gave him no government and _mOSt Franc“ people redeeming qualities \\ hatsoever.‘ Though twice sent ' wanted to Obllterate the paSt-,
to death in absentia for his part in the murder of
fourteen Jews in lfl-lS. the septuagenarian has evaded l fiction. ‘ltrossard is partly based on the case of Paul and hired Nazi war criminals to work for thcnt in the French gendarmerie for more than 40 years. i 'l‘ouvier who was the chief of the paramilitary arm of I intelligence. So there's a lot ofguilt to he shared. it‘s having been secretly sheltered by a network of the Vichy government called the Ali/tee which was not just the French.‘
French Catholic ahheys and monasteries. However. ‘ run on Nazi lines.’ he says. ‘Though the church The .S'tutetttent by Brion Home Is published by
as the media pounces on this muse celeb/e. the abbey : secured a pardon for him from President l’ompidou Bloomsbury at £74.99.
When ‘Slasher’ Gallagher, the now ex- ‘massively under-described l interested in me,
I governor of Glasgow’s Barlinnie § experience’ of growing up in a l ‘The stories I‘m trying to tell are, if I I i Prison, assaulted a prisoner in 1987, i Scottish new town like Irvine in the anything, life affirming. Unlike many he ; he unwittingly launched the writing ! 705 was the key to the project, and modern soottish writers, it.“ not _ 1 career of one Andrew O’Hagan, then a 1 when he turned it, he unlocked a suggesting an endless cycle of second year English student at . Pandora’s Box. depravity and darkness, but we all live Strathclyde University. Going , ‘It can sometimes seem like an in these locations in some sense undercover to get the true story by l unbearable difference between one’s together. we don’t stand alone.’ posing as an outreach worker for a i own world and the world at large,’ As well as the confessional writings Catholic student group, his exposé says O’Hagan. ‘All you can do, the only of Boswell and salt, O’Hagan cites finally printed in the student ' effort worth making, is to try and James Joyce as a model influence for newspaper won the Glasgow Herald describe it and give shape to it.’ This tackling the poetics of the specific Young Journalist of the Year Award in has already been done, albeit with a l and particular in our lives, but first 1983- "SM!" "WC" - think of the and foremost he ls a journalist. Placed 0n graduating in 1990, he decamped Grangemouth of Gordon legge’s fiction correctly in the Scottish tradition, The to London. After a few months he or the Cumbernauld of Gregory’s Girl. Miss]an voice is both reporterial and scored another coup d’e’faf: he was But The Missing, and O’Hagan’s essays subjective, but also has that sense of l made assistant editor of the for The Guardian examining Scottish writing on the cusp of great social i fortnightly journal London Review Of , identity, literature, and the local rave change, o’llagan, while blushing and ; Books, which O’Hagan describes as ‘a scene, are distinguished by their hashlul, has the commitment of his ‘I great stroke of fortune.’ He was 23. gravitas. age; ‘Journalists can't afford to be 2 . flow at 27, his first book The Missing ‘We’re all interested in extremity and above their subject, They need to ‘ IS out. Not satisfied with producing a sometimes extreme situations can involve themselves and do the work > .4 / i work of record, the book opens out the shed light on very ordinary properly,’ Are you listening out there? a» stories of missing people in British circumstances,’ explains O’Hagan. (neirdro Molloy) i society in the context of the author’s , ‘That’s why I write about Bible John The Missing by Andrew a’ﬂagan Is Andrew O’Hagan: ‘I'm not suggesting an own childhood experiences and family 3 and Fred West: not because I’m published by ploador at £14.99, end|ess cycle of depravity and darkness’ 1 history. What he considers as the . interested in death. Actually, I’m very
The List 22 Sept-5 Oct I995 85