A well-written thriller by the author who also wrote the excellent The Colour of Blood
- Why was it called The Statement?
- This refers to the letter intended to be poinned on Brossard's corpse by the assassin once Brossard is dead. It is a statement that he has been executed for war crimes. But why name the novel after this? Rather than, for example, the fugitive?
- How does Moore enlist your sympathy for Pierre?
- Right at the start Brossard is a frail old man being stalked by an assassin. In the first chaspter Brossard is revealed as a cunning predator. He kills, ruthlessly. Almost immediately one is aware that he is a war criminal and a very dangerous man. No sympathy there. There are details (he is getting old, he has bad teeth, he has to keep moving, he has only three suitcases of possessions) which might enlist sympathy but after such strong early impressions I wasn't falling for it. So why did Moore choose to start like that?
- Why are the two hired assassins only referred to by their initials?
- The second assassin is given a girlfriend (to whom he lies) and a phobia about horoscopes. But by using initials Moore seems to be encouraging us to think that these men do not count. Their deaths do not matter. Except as it affects the game.
- The novel explores moral issues including those of forgiveness. To what extent this this raise the novel above the standard thriller format?
- It is interesting how the characters are able to justify themselves. The priests consider that the secular world should not be allowed to impinge upon the religious world, that a confessed sinner is redeemed (although Brossard never shows remorse), that France lost the Second World War because the communists triumphed and that Brossard's role as a soldier for the right and for tradition somehow excuses him killing others.
- “The numbers of dead are exaggerated, no doubt, but what matter? Sin is sin in any number.” (p 52)
- “The roulette wheel had stopped and the steel ball of his luck had dropped into a losing slot.” (p 60)
- “Now that he himself was old, he no longer saw old men in a respectful light. Now, he looked at them for signs of failure: the faltering step on the stairs, the voice hesitating over a forgotten surname, the look of quiet deception when dimming ears have missed what was said.” (p 87)
- “In the ninth decade ... men become stubborn and unyielding, unwilling to admit error now that judgement day is close.” (p 88)
- This is thought by Brossard, the war criminal, but it is about others. He is thinking this to assess to what extent he might be able to rely on the way the other person has always behaved. But he isn't the least self-reflective. Is this the mind of a psychopath?
- “The young ... did not want to be reminded of the leprosy of age.” (p 163)