'Death and Nightingales is a miracle of a novel which combines prose of bleak, unadorned beauty with a plot that keeps you up all night wondering how it will end... a masterpiece' Colm T ibin
Eugene McCabe was born in Glasgow in 1930. His novel Death and Nightingales was published in 1992 to high praise. He has published five collections of short stories, one non-fiction book and a novella. He is also a successful playwright. Eugene McCabe lives in County Monaghan.
Originally published in England in 1992, McCabe's powerful, gruffly lyrical novel, released for the first time in America, chronicles the struggles of a spunky, courageous young Irish woman in strife-torn Northern Ireland in the 1880s. Beth Winters enters the world with a strike against her: her mother is Catholic and her father is Protestant. Pregnant at the age of 25, Beth thinks back on the wretched existence of her late mother, Catherine, who was constantly badgered by her violent husband, Billy. Though he could never forgive Catherine for a particularly galling act of betrayal, of which Beth is a constant reminder, Billy conceives a grudging love and admiration for Beth. In moments of weakness, his love takes an unpleasant turn, and Beth is driven toward Liam Ward, a young Catholic who hates Billy for his wealth and power. McCabe, equally adept at scenes of furious action and heated intimacy, never lets the reader forget the Catholic-Protestant violence lying beneath the surface, even in the brutal clashes between father and daughter. Beth herself is acutely aware of the contradictions of her birth and heritage. When she finally steals away after a vicious beating by her father, McCabe cleverly sets up the riveting climax of the book, in which Beth is revealed to be as ruthless as Billy. It is the relationship between father and daughter, charged with a bitterly affectionate love and shared cleverness, that drives this novel, a fine book that rarely blinks at the bitter truths of life, loss and war. (Mar.) Forecast: Known as a playwright in the 1970s, McCabe disappeared from the literary scene in the 1980s, only to return in 1992 with Death and Nightingales, a novel accorded high praise by Colm T"ib!n and Michael Ondaatje. Strong reviews could give McCabe a fresh start in the U.S. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A deeply moving, powerful, and unforgettable book -- Michael
A truly astonishing novel - it goes straight to the heart * Hilary Mantel *
A miracle of a novel which combines prose of bleak, unadorned beauty with a plot that keeps you up all night wondering how it will end... Clearly one of the masterpieces of the century -- Colm Toibin
A novel of breadth, power and passion... From its poisonous and dramatic opening to its engrossing ending this novel will hold you in thrall throughout -- Bernard MacLaverty
I believe Death and Nightingales is the finest novel by the greatest living Irish prose writer -- Alan Warner
Crisp, taut and unsentimental...this tragic tale of gold, prejudice, terrorism, emigration, love and oppression remains an impressive and moving achievement * Observer *
Death and Nightingales should put Eugene McCabe in the first rank of contemporary Irish novelists -- John Banville