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New Island publishes some of the best fiction written in Ireland. From literary fiction and short stories, to chilling crime, you’ll always find a book to transport you.

The Best of Benedict Kiely: A Selection of Stories

The Best of Benedict Kiely: A Selection of Stories


by Benedict Kiely

Afterword by Anthony Glavin

The Best of Benedict Kiely is a treasure trove of his best and most acclaimed stories, published to mark the centenary of the birth of this great twentieth-century Irish writer.

B-format, hardback | 272pp | ISBN 9781848407510 | Release date: 9 August 2019

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Many of these stories were originally published in The New Yorker before appearing in four collections over a 24-year period during the writer’s lifetime. They are quintessential Kiely; superbly crafted, mingling song, anecdote, myth, history and a powerful sense of place into an allusive storyline. They show Kiely’s supreme gift in recording the feeling of lived life, pulsing with joys, disappointments and the accidental and deliberate digressions along the way.

Colum McCann has observed in Kiely’s work that ‘… there is really no such thing as an end, because the stories keep unfolding and influencing’ and these classic Kiely stories, published together for the first time, will linger with the reader, young or old,  long after the final sentence.

[To] my ears and eyes, [Benedict Kiely] seemed to function like a seed crystal in a saturated solution, around which the most remarkable constellations of characters and circumstance would subsequently form.
— Anthony Glavin, Afterword
In the standard distinction Kiely is a Mozart … his narrative thrust is primarily celebratory. Playfully immersed in old ballads, anecdotes and lore, Kiely’s prose is determinedly mellifluous, and frequently achieves positively rhapsodic notes.
— Times Literary Supplement
Kiely is like a merchant, a travelling pedlar, pulling out of his trunk a variety of silk scarves, one more colourful than the other. And at his best the merchant turns into a magician and the scarves into real human beings.
— Brian Lynch, Sunday Independent
He is, quite simply, the finest writer out of Ireland today. Funny, ribald, heartbreaking.
— Publishers Weekly