Although realistic novels were gaining in popularity at this time, this “woman-goes-unpunished” treatment would’ve been quite controversial, but apparently, George Moore wasn’t shy about tackling subjects like this and others including prostitution and lesbianism. Even later in his career, he was still in the thick of it with his 1916 novel The Brook Kerith, which dealt with, according to Wikipedia, “a non-divine Jesus that didn’t die on the cross and was instead nursed back to health and went on to India in search of wisdom.”
Allegedly, (again, according to Pekar) Moore had some influence on James Joyce, but he’s not well-remembered or widely studied because he had a gift for pissing off friends and influential people alike, especially when he published his memoirs in 1914. Also, he had a habit of going around incessantly saying that he was the greatest, which seems to have backfired as a PR tactic.
Like Harvey Pekar, I really like Naturalism/realism. Also, I want to learn more about Irish literature. Even if he was a bit of an asshole, George Moore was a colorful character in his own right, definitely worthy of attention. (He already gets high marks from me for bucking literary tradition and not killing off his heroine because she had sex on the “wrong” side of the marriage ceremony!) As a result, Esther Waters seems tailor-made for a solid spot on my wishlist.