Fiction banner.jpg


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 Love of Sisters: A Novella

The Love of Sisters: A Novella


By Eugene McCabe

A novel of immense power and depth from Eugene McCabe.

A-format, hardback | 128pp | ISBN 978-1-84840-018-4 | Release Date: January 2009

Add To Cart

Set in the late 40s, early 50s, this tells the story of two sisters, both traumatised by the untimely death of their mother. The elder, Patricia, is also scarred by the realities of other childhood experiences and a humiliating marriage. The younger, Carmel, maintains an almost sexual love for Christ, and commits herself to an enclosed order. Carmel's abrupt disillusionment and departure from the convent throws the sisters together again. Tension mounts between Patricia's defensive cynicism and Carmel's equally unattractive humourless Puritanism. Filled with unflinching honesty in its exploration of the different types of love, this latest story from Eugene McCabe is both disturbing and heartwarmingly funny.

Praise for The Love of Sisters:

This is a formidable and immediately re-readable engagement with a theme and setting that are all the more intriguing for being unfashionable. McCabe has deployed the best of both the short story and the novel: he combines depth with narrative speed, stylistic control with structural complexity, unity of focus with an involved storyline. He has brilliantly portrayed a kind of therapeutic unveiling for one person of the world’s intertwined cruelness and beauty. Tastefully produced, The Love of Sisters holds like a hymnal and reads like praise. Welcome, O life! says McCabe. Welcome, novella, say we.
— The Irish Times
McCabe is a writer at the peak of his powers in The Love of Sisters. He wends his way through a maze of social history, religious symbolism and vibrant imagery with masterful ease towards a disconcerting exposé of man’s duplicity.
— Irish Examiner
McCabe writes so beautifully that you just want to keep reading.
— The Newsletter
A sparkling novella...McCabe’s narrative powers and creative strengths are strongly in evidence from the first to the last sentence. The novella stands alone as an integral work of literature written by a master...The language is stark and to the point...the last sentence finishing with a sudden and dramatic conclusion reminiscent of the famous whiplash endings of O Henry or Guy de Maupassant...As with all comprehensive works of art, The Love of Sisters brings its reader to a new level of self-understanding. It is a work of warm humanity and genuine kindness.
— The Galway Advertiser