Nothing Happens in Carmincross


Benedict Kiely

15/03/2007 | Paperback |

ISBN: 9780413776419

About Nothing Happens in Carmincross


'Outstanding... It must be read by everyone interested in Irish writing and the peculiar tragedy of the Irish situation'

Irish Times


'Ten minutes out from Kennedy Airport he discovers that the man sitting beside him has no legs...'


Mervyn Kavanagh is on his way to his childhood home. After a spell of living and teaching in America, the wedding of a favourite niece takes him back across the Atlantic to Carmincross, the small Ulster town where he was born. As he journeys towards this family celebration he encounters people and events from his own and his country's past, while constant news of terrorist and counter-terrorist actions invades his consciousness more and more insistently. Somewhere, it seems, the past and the present are bound to collide...


Benedict Kiely


Benedict Kiely was internationally renowned as one of Ireland's finest writers. Born in 1919 in Dromore, County Tyrone, he was raised in Omagh where he attended the Christian Brothers school. He intended originally to become a Jesuit priest, but after graduating from University College, Dublin in 1943 he began a career in journalism and fiction-writing.


  • Counties of Contention, about the partition of Northern Ireland, appeared in 1945 and was followed by his first novel, Land Without Stars. Other novels include The Cards of the Gambler (1953), Dogs Enjoy the Morning (1968), Proxopera (1977) and Nothing Happens in Carmincross (1985). His Collected Short Stories appeared in 2001; earlier collections include A Journey to the Seven Streams (1963), A Ball of Malt and Madame Butterfly (1973), A Cow in the House (1978), The State of Ireland: A Novella and Seven Short Stories (1980) and A Letter to Peachtree (1987). He also published a children's story, several works of criticism on Irish literature and politics, and two memoirs, Drink to the Bird: A Memoir (1991), and The Waves Behind Us (1999).
  • Benedict Kiely received the Award for Literature from the Irish Academy of Letters and in 1996 was elected Saoi of Aosdana, the highest honour given by the Arts Council of Ireland. He lived in Dublin until his death in 2007.



'Gleefully self-mocking and hilariously funny' ... 'A novel of exile and loss that should be on every Irish bookshelf'

Irish Times



'Even readers who know of Mr Kiely's comic gift from his previous novels may find it hard to see much scope for comedy in such material. Yet the first thing to say about Nothing Happens in Carmincross is that it is often brilliantly funny'

John Gross New York Times



'Richly, grimly funny... At its best this is a remarkable study of a man struggling to come to terms with the country he thought he'd left behind him and with his own complicity in the troubles'

Margaret Walters The Observer



'I have been waiting for a novel as full of rage about contemporary Ireland as this one. And this is the book I have been waiting for'  

Frank Delaney, BBC World Service



'Benedict Kiely's most impressive novel' 

Thomas Flanagan, author of The Year of the French



'It is a complex novel of ideas, a work packed with literary and classical allusions, quotations from poetry and old songs... There is, I believe, nothing quite like it in modern Irish literature'

Irish Sunday Independent

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