Cover image for Heaven lies about us : stories
Heaven lies about us : stories
McCabe, Eugene, 1930-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, [2004]

Physical Description:
309 pages ; 25 cm
Heaven lies about us -- Truth -- Victorian fields -- Roma -- Music at Annahullion -- Cancer -- Heritage -- Victims -- The orphan -- The master -- The landlord -- The mother.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In these twelve stories, McCabe plumbs the soul of the Irish border counties, where confusion, divided loyalties, and heightened emotions are part of everyday life, whether that life is lived in the aftermath of "the great hunger" or in the face of the current Catholic/Protestant conflict. A master of arresting dialogue and intimate characterization, Eugene McCabe demonstrates his outstanding gift for short fiction in this revelatory and haunting collection.

Author Notes

Eugene McCabe was born in Glasgow in 1930. He is the recipient of the Butler Award from the Irish American Cultural Institute. His works include the novel Death and Nightingales, the award-winning novella Victims, and the screenplay for his story Cancer, which won the Prague International Award

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The title of McCabe's collection of 12 short stories set in Ireland is bleakly ironic. From the great famine through the Troubles, religion, here, is a flashpoint for hatred or has been reduced to a joyless recitation of rules and regulations, stripped of all comfort and generosity of spirit. For Marion, the troubled young girl in the title story, it's a well-worn teddy bear, not her fanatically religious mother, who provides respite in the face of her brother's brutal sexual assaults. In the brilliant, bloodcurdling Victims, about a conflicted band of IRA terrorists who take a group of British aristocrats hostage, it is the calculating leader and his ruthless right-hand man who recite prayers in flawless Latin. In Music at Annahullion, an old, abandoned piano stirs up an ancient feud between two brothers, one devoted to God, the other to drink. McCabe does not spare his readers in these unflinching, starkly dramatic depictions of emotional and spiritual suffering. Richly imagined and written in spare, haunting prose, these are unrelenting, poignant, and powerful stories. --Joanne Wilkinson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Serious with a capital "S," this book of short stories from septuagenarian Irish scribe and Butler Award-winner McCabe (Death of Nightingales; Victims; etc.) is bleak in the extreme. The tales, mostly of Irish working poor, are brimming with stark religious imagery and traditional Irish guilt and retribution his characters live with God hanging over them at every juncture, alcohol providing their only respite. McCabe is unquestionably a talented writer capable of inserting tiny details ("yellow teeth in red gums, his face white like a monk's") that vividly illuminate his characters' wretched lives. In the title story, a small child is raped by her older brother. Their mother's insistence that she part with her best friend/stuffed bear is heartbreaking, and the conclusion is more devastating still. Later, in "Victorian Fields," a woman's husband and his brother set out to steal her land; to do so, they portray her to the authorities as an incestuous whore who is carrying another man's child. The physical and emotional torture she suffers at their hands is horrific. In "Cancer," a character remarks that "Livin's worse nor dyin', and that's a fact": a recurring theme applicable to most of the stories' characters. Over the course of an entire book these chronicles of "famine, horror and hatred" are grimly unrelenting. McCabe's writing, while often quite beautiful and poetic, demands much stamina and perseverance from readers. (Apr.) FYI: This is McCabe's first collection of stories to be published in the U.S. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Heaven Lies About Usp. 1
Truthp. 35
Victorian Fieldsp. 45
Romap. 57
Music at Annahullionp. 63
Cancerp. 75
Heritagep. 87
Victimsp. 141
The Orphanp. 221
The Masterp. 239
The Landlordp. 267
The Motherp. 295