THE STATEMENT by Brian Moore

THE STATEMENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A superlative political novel that, like its immediate predecessors, Lies of Silence (1990) and No Other Life (1993), blends the visceral appeal of a beautifully plotted thriller with the more complex pleasures of a thoughtful exploration of conflicting and long-lingering moral quandaries. ``The statement'' is an explanatory declaration that is to be pinned to the body of 70-year-old Pierre Brossard, a former officer in the ``Milice'' that carried out the Vichy government's WW II policy of collaboration with the Nazis, and a known murderer of Jews. This will be done, that is, if Brossard is found first by the underground Jewish group that seeks his death ``because they believe he will never be brought to trial,'' rather than by the officials in the French government who want him captured alive. But Brossard has survived for 40 years on the run, given sanctuary and tacit approval by his country's Catholic Church, and perhaps supported by highly placed collaborators like himself who could no longer be protected should his crimes come to public attention. This brilliant premise is developed with breathtaking skill, as Moore--who has few peers as a lucid explicator of convoluted narrative materials--adroitly shifts his focus among the harried Brossard (as certain of God's forgiveness as he is of his undimmed, murderous anti-Semitism), his various pursuers, and the several clerics, high and low, who have persuaded themselves that ``the Church's law of asylum supersedes . . . the laws of the civil authority.'' The novel's characterizations are deftly etched, its issues are treated with complete fairness, and the suspense is maintained until the last possible moment, when a stunning surprise confronts us on the final page. Moore here engages Graham Greene and John le CarrÇ on their own ground, producing a haunting, heartpounding literary thriller of which either would be proud. They don't write them any better than this. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 10th, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-94128-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996




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