- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Grafton; New edition edition (March 28 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0586059040
- ISBN-13: 978-0586059043
- Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 2.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 159 g
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,624,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cold Heaven Paperback – Mar 28 1985
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About the Author
Brian Moore was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1921. He served with the Ministry of War in North Africa, Italy, and France during the Second World War. He emigrated to Canada in 1948 and worked as a newspaper reporter for the Montreal Gazette from 1948 until 1952.
While living in Canada, Moore wrote his first three novels, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The Feast of Lupercal, and The Luck of Ginger Coffey, the first two set in Belfast, the third in Montreal. In 1959 he moved to the United States, but Canada continued to play a role in his later novels, including I Am Mary Dunne, The Great Victorian Collection, and Black Robe. His many honours included two Governor General’s Awards for Fiction.
Brian Moore died in Malibu, California, in 1999.
Top Customer Reviews
The story starts off as a simple mystery. An American woman is vacationing in France with her husband. She wants to separate from him and is indeed planning to announce this to him when he is involved in a boating accident and killed. The following day, she returns to the hospital to which he was taken, and is told that his body has disappeared.
Pretty gripping, admittedly, and sure enough, the reader finds himself happily engaged in discovering what this mystery is all about. But very quickly, we sense something unusual about this woman. Her thoughts and actions do not seem normal; in fact, they become somewhat bizarre. It is then that we learn that there is something else going on here; something much larger than the mystery at hand. We realize that the husband's disappearance is only a minor element of this other aspect.
I cannot reveal what it is; it would ruin the experience of the earlier mystery. Let me just say that there is a supernatural element which leads to a thought-provoking theme: what is it that we want from this life? Salvation? Freedom? Privacy? It would appear that not all of us are involved in a lifelong, soul-searching quest for enlightenment, even when it is handed to us on a silver platter. And that this is not necessarily a bad thing.
My complaint with the novel lies in the fact that not all the pieces fit together. There are several threads which are begun and left in the air and one gets the disturbing sense that this was deliberate. They are red herrings meant to deceive us. What were the husband's notes, for example? Much time is spent in showing us his writing them and her searching for them. And then they are never mentioned again. What was that about? And the fat man with the dogs. He appears out of nowhere, seems to have a malevolent presence at several significant events, then vanishes. Why is he even there? Of course, the entire beginning subplot steers us in the wrong direction to begin with.
Clearly, these things are intentional, and I'm not sure why. Leading the reader into blind alleys does not advance the novel thematically or in any other way. But it is nevertheless an enjoyable book, and will inspire at least a little thoughtful introspection on the part of the reader.
A woman and her husband vacationing in the south of France have their trip cut short by his fatal accident - well, sort of. Seems he just won't stay put in the morgue. She thinks it has something to do with a vision of the Virgin Mary she once had - even though she long ago renounced her Catholicism. He implies (though never outright states) that he understands why he isn't dead, and doesn't want to be discovered until he has "recovered" from his rigor mortis-ish condition, for fear that he will be regarded as a freak. A nearby convent gets involved in the wife's reluctant vision quest, which she avoids because she doesn't want to attract publicity to her hiding husband or her own affair with another man.
The story is almost a black comedy as written by Dean Koontz. (In fact, Koontz has used variations of these plotlines in his books, namely Strangers, Shadowfires, and Mr. Murder, to name a few.) Nothing is clearly answered or resolved by the end of the story, though there are strong implications made in a number of different directions as to why the bizarre phenomena are occurring. In essence, the reader fills in his own blanks and virtually writes the story of his choice according to whose perceptions he agrees with. It's almost a Rorschach blot for belief systems.
It's also quite a good read. It will definitely not be to everyone's tastes. If you're looking for a comprehensive, standard novel, you'll be horribly disappointed. If you simply want to spend a while walking the line of Faith, examining it from every different angle and psychologically exploring the different human mechanisms of belief, you'll be endlessly fascinated.