Synopses & Reviews
It is 1883 and the farms of County Fermanagh, on the border of Ulster and what we now know as the Republic of Ireland, are crisscrossed with religious, political, and generational tensions. Through the events of a single day in the life of Elizabeth Winters, we see decades of pain, betrayal, and resentment build to a devastating climax.
Against the fearsome beauty of the Fermanagh landscape, the fate of McCabe's heroine, Beth, slowly and suspensefully unfolds. Born to a Catholic mother and an unknown Catholic father, conceived shortly before her mother's marriage to Protestant Billy Winters, Beth has lived a life of silent suffering since her mother's death. Determined to decide her own fate but doomed to repeat the tragic circumstances of her birth, McCabe illuminates her quiet, searing power with the tenderness of a poet, offering up a powerful, lyrical indictment of the tensions that tear families and nations apart.
"[A] haunting novel of love and deception set in rural 19th-century Ireland....Brilliant, richly conceived, and perfectly narrated with the suspense of a good thriller." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"McCabe has written a heartbreaking modern fable." New Yorker
"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." Publishers Weekly
"A deeply moving, powerful and unforgettable book." Michael Ondaatje
"McCabe...is a splendid writer....[B]oth in exquisite lyrical description and in his masterly handling of dialogue McCabe demonstrates a mellow, seasoned power." The Atlantic Monthly
"McCabe is a master of spare and beautiful language." The Washington Post Book World
"As well-paced as a good thriller, Death and Nightingales also achieves everything we expect of a literary novel." The Chicago Tribune
"Heartbreakingly lyrical....To read Death and Nightingales is to be convinced and to be thankful that this powerful and darkly beautiful novel has been restored and reborn and (we can only hope) will not be forgotten again." Francine Prose, O: The Oprah Magazine
Determined to decide her own fate but doomed to repeat the tragic circumstances of her birth, McCabe illuminates heroine Elizabeth Winters's quiet, searing power with the tenderness of a poet, offering up a powerful, lyrical indictment of the tensions that tear families and nations apart. A Book Sense 76 Pick.
About the Author
was born in Glasgow in 1930. His work includes Heritage and Other Stories
, a short novel which won the Holtby Award from the Royal Society of Literature (1976).