David M. Kiely

Life
1949- ; worked in advertising; lives in Wicklow; J. M Synge, a Biography (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1994) [0 7171 2132 1]; also A Night in the Catacombs (Lilliput 1995), 220pp. [fictional portraits of Irish literati]; The Angel Tapes (Belfast: Blackstaff 1997), 285pp., detective thriller concerning bomb set to explode in Dublin on visit of US President.

 

Works
‘Reader’s Choice’ notice on Adrian Kenny, Istanbul Diary (Poolber 1995), in Irish Times, c.15 June 1995.

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Commentary
A Night in the Catacombs (Lilliput 1995), reviewed by C. L. Dallat in TLS (9.6.1995); the stories incl. ‘To Love a Stranger’, an Arran girl’s account of Syne’s visit to the island, with memories of his uncle, the Protestant clergyman ‘Alastar’; deals also with lady Gregory’s affair with Wilfrid Blunt; a tête-à-tête between Maria Edgeworth and captive rebel officer in 1798; an encounter between John Casside (Sean O’CAsey) at nine and a personage like Lady Gregory; others involve George Moore and James Joyce, the latter on a supposed Dublin visit of 1924; Dean Swift; an American academic interviewing Somerville & Ross; a Goldsmith tale in 18th c. language; and an apocryphal and scatological tale of Brendan Behan. ALSO review by John Dunne, Books Ireland (Summer 1995), p.150, with strong recommendation.

Mary Campbell, reviewing in Linen Hall Review (Winter 1995-96), p.15: calls it ‘an extraordinary collection of deja vu, mimicry, caricature, and pastiche, come together in a powerful entertaining and yet serious tribute to the power of very different Irish writers and their unique contribution to the last few centureies of literature in the English language’; notes that the Behan story concerns a macabre experiment in cannibalism requiring a borrowed body part from the mortuary (title story); Joyce revisits Dublin incog to glean experience in a Mountjoy Sq. brothel; Oliver Goldsmith on amorous adventures in the Netherlands; O’Casey rescues Maud Gonne’s monkey; Synge as seen on the Aran Islands by the narrator, Barbara, who falls in love with his ‘fine Protestant lips’.

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References
listed in Lilliput Catl. 1995, ‘...post coital Cairene Wilfrid Blunt and Lady Gregory discuss rights of small nations ...’; Behan; O’Casey and Maud Gonne; Swift; Somerville and Ross (her spirit); Moore and Manet; Joyce’s secret visit to Dublin; called fictional debut.

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