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Download The Temptation of Eileen Hughes epub

by Brian Moore

Download The Temptation of Eileen Hughes epub
ISBN: 0099961105
ISBN13: 978-0099961109
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Contemporary
Author: Brian Moore
Language: English
Publisher: VINTAGE; New Ed edition (February 20, 1992)
Pages: 209 pages
ePUB size: 1896 kb
FB2 size: 1862 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 697
Other Formats: mbr azw lrf docx

Bernard McAuley, a wealthy Ulster businessman, arrives in London for a holiday with his wife Mona. But they have brought with them Mona's assistant at their department store, a twenty-year old girl who has never before been out of Ireland. This is Eileen Hughes. We know immediately that there is something wrong with this arrangement, for Bernard proceeds to organize a series of expensive restaurants, museums, and theatres, treating Eileen like a duchess while, as often as not, his wife is not even there. Innocent though she is, it does not take Eileen long to feel uncomfortable with the situation, and we, the wiser readers, sniff the clear scent of impending adultery.

If so, our noses may lead us astray, because the actual facts turn out to be quite a bit more complex. This book was suggested to me in connection with Ford Madox Ford's 1913 novel THE GOOD SOLDIER, another book in which the roles of adulterers, victims, and enablers become vertiginously confused. The power that the rich couple exert over Eileen also put me in mind of Ian McEwan's THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS, published in the same year (1981). But Moore's novel is simpler than either of those, less Byzantine than the one, less baroque than the other. It is especially the simplicity of Eileen's voice that is so attractive -- with an added bonus for me that both she and the McAuleys speak with the familiar rhythms of my own Northern Irish childhood.

Bernard McAuley is an interesting character, a university man turned to commerce, a reader and autodidact, and an abortive candidate for the priesthood. It may also be significant that he is by far the richest Catholic in his country town, living in an exclusive neighborhood among wealthy Protestants. One feels that, beneath the surface of the story, Brian Moore is possibly saying something about ethnicity and class (things to which I am attuned as an Ulsterman myself) and almost certainly about religion; there is the strong suggestion that Bernard's pursuit of Eileen is not so different from his former pursuit of God. But these themes never quite come into focus, and a number of other characters are introduced later in the book (a young American pot-head being one of the less convincing) who drive the action towards its climax but blur the deeper meanings.

But Eileen's own trajectory is always clear: excitement, anxiety, disillusion, and disgust passing though hard experience to new-found strength. It remains the chief satisfaction of reading this sensitive book.
I love how Moore flings us headlong into the abrupt mid-action opening sentences of this story... "What do you mean there's no room for her?" Bernard said. "Didn't you get my letter?"
It's like that old television quip: "We now return you to programming already in progress..." The opening scene here is the front desk of a prestigious London hotel, within sight of Buckingham Palace. 34 year old Ulster businessman Bernard McAuley is straightening out what seems to be a screw-up in the reservations. Eileen Hughes, twenty years old and never before out of Northern Ireland, has just arrived with Bernard and his wife Mona, who are not only her employers but also, (she believes) her greatest friends. They've invited her on one of their jaunts. The worldly-wise Mona seems to have adopted the virginal-innocent Eileen as her special pet. Bernard is obsessed (in opposite ways) with BOTH of them... and for the time being, Eileen is completely unaware of the extent of Bernard's posessive love of her - expressed in his wish to give her everything she desires. She will not be unaware for long. Bernard soon goes against his better judgment and confesses that he wishes to posess her as one would posess a religious icon or aesthetic artefact.
The action of the book is compressed into two days (with an introductory day and a few brief scenes on later days) and during this time Bernard's excessive (and oddly platonic, or as Bernard refers to it "courtly") devotion to Eileen leads her to a sharp recognition of the madness in which she is trapped... and leads Bernard to drunken, suicidal despair. And what of Mona? Goodness... she's too busy shopping and courting her own lovers to be concerned with either of them!
Eileen discovers that nothing between the McAuleys, or between the McAuley's and herself, is as she imagined it to be. She is tempted... in many ways, and in many directions in the course of this vacation. She is bombarded with new experiences... including the initiation into marijuana and sex by a casual American stud/hippie whom she meets in the hotel.
What will she choose in regard to her temptations? The intoxicating adventure and glamour represented by European cities... held out to her on a platter by Bernard? Or a return to her dreary life in Lismore, Northern Ireland where she lives with her widowed invalid mother? How will her decisions affect her, and the other people involved? A great story, economically told. (only 200 pages). Ends before you want it to.