Anita Shreve's Bookshelf
By Brian Moore
Brian Moore's Lies of Silence is a short novel about a love affair told in spare and simple prose. The manager of a Belfast hotel is held hostage by the IRA and given an impossible task: he must agree to plant a bomb in his own hotel, which will slaughter a Protestant reverend and his group of supporters, or the IRA will kill his wife, whom they also hold. To complicate the matter, the hotel manager has been thinking about leaving his shrewish wife for a woman he loves. The moral dilemma is excruciating. My breath was tight and short during the reading of this electric novel, and its ending is the most shocking—and entirely earned—of any book I have ever read.