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An Evening of Long Goodbyes: A Novel (edition 2005)

by Paul Murray

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221852,606 (3.55)8
Member:jerhogan
Title:An Evening of Long Goodbyes: A Novel
Authors:Paul Murray
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2005), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:irish, contemporary fiction, eccentric characters, humor, jobs, literary fiction, sibling relationships, Ireland, Celtic Tiger.

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An Evening of Long Goodbyes: A Novel by Paul Murray

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Very enjoyable, funny, tragic and touching in equal measures. Charles is a great character who tries to get a handle on life throughout the book with mostly hilarious consequences. Other characters are varied and interesting too. A cut above your average comedy melodrama. ( )
  polarbear123 | Jul 5, 2014 |
Very funny. I laughed aloud at various points. A trawl through Dublin in the Celtic Tiger era from Dalkey to the fictional slum Bonetown. The recruitment agency definitely jogged my memory of the boom times. It kept my interest throughout - there was always a new twist in the plot before interest could start to flag. ( )
  jerhogan | Dec 8, 2012 |
Sometimes it's because it's interesting. Sometimes because it's funny. Sometimes it's because it's challenging, true-to life or beautifully crafted. It may even be because you think it will improve you.

Yes, there are many reasons to like a book. The reason I liked, and came to love, this one, is because it was just so damned enjoyable. In the over-used expression of the enthusiastic teacher, it was a pleasure to read. The nearer I got to the end, the sadder I became at the thought that it would soon be over.

It wasn't at all what I expected. And if somebody had described the plot to me beforehand, I might never have bothered to read it at all - the story of an upper-class, Irish layabout who could be something out of P.G. Wodehouse, fretting about losing his family home and also about his sister's romantic liaisons, whilst steadily drinking his way through what's left of his father's wine cellar and a series of gin gimlets (I didn't even know what one of those was before I looked it up).

But, if that doesn't float your boat, ignore it. "An Evening of Long Goodbyes" is brilliant. Wonderfully written, with a vocabulary that's erudite and sometimes even exotic, but which never gets in the way. There are a number of laugh-out-loud moments; some characters unlike anything else you're likely to find in a modern novel; and a plot which may appear to meander but which actually knows exactly where it's going and why.

But more than anything, it's very touching. The more I read, the more I began to care - really care - for this rather pathetic hero and his highly-strung sister. And to realize that, in an entirely natural way, he was profoundly in love with her.

I rarely read books twice - there's not enough time to read anything other than a small proportion of those I would like to read once - but this is one I may well return to. I also appear to be in something of a minority in regarding this as a much better book than "Skippy Dies", which I read immediately afterwards, and found a little disappointing in comparison. ( )
  swellms | Jun 1, 2012 |
Loved Murray's Skippy Dies so wanted to read his first book. This was humorous, touching but nothing compared to Skippy Dies. I didn't know whether to like Charles, dislike him, or pity him. I loved the character of Bel, she was the story, she did what Charles dreamed of doing. This may be one you have to read twice, to pick up what you missed the first time. Looking forward to more from Paul Murray. ( )
  LSTEPH1967 | Mar 7, 2012 |
It’s taken me a while to get around to reading this book, one I bought after enjoying Murray’s ‘Skippy Dies’. This one, though, does not appeal to me. Charles, the narrator, is too self-indulgent to attract me. I know that Murray means this attribute to be something that makes us find Charles amusing but the humour, a key aspect of this novel, seemed tortuous to me, making the novel drawn out. While Murray may have things to say about Ireland, I found the style so elaborate that the book became more of a chore to read. ( )
  evening | Jan 29, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812970403, Paperback)

Vastly entertaining and outright hilarious, Paul Murray’s debut heralds the arrival of a major new Irish talent. His protagonist is endearing and wildly witty–part P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster, with a cantankerous dash of A Confederacy of Dunces’ Ignatius J. Reilly thrown in. With its rollicking plot and colorful characters, An Evening of Long Goodbyes is a delightful and erudite comedy of epic proportions.

Charles Hythloday observes the world from the comfortable confines of Amaurot, his family estate, and doesn’t much care for what he sees. He prefers the black-and-white sanctum of classic cinema–especially anything starring the beautiful Gene Tierney–to the roiling and rumbling of twenty-first-century Dublin. At twenty-four, Charles aims to resurrect the lost lifestyle of the aristocratic country gentleman–contemplative walks, an ever-replenished drink, and afternoons filled with canapés as prepared by the Bosnian housekeeper, Mrs. P.

But Charles’s cozy existence is about to face a serious shake-up. His sister, Bel, an aspiring actress and hopeless romantic, has brought to Amaurot her most recent–and to Charles’s mind, most ill-advised–boyfriend. Frank is hulking and round, and resembles nothing so much as a large dresser, probably a Swedish one. He bets on greyhounds and talks endlessly of brawls and pubs in an accent that brings tears to Charles’s eyes. And, most suspiciously, his entrance into the Hythlodays’ lives just happens to coincide with the disappearance of an ever-increasing number of household antiques and baubles.

Soon, Charles and Bel discover that missing heirlooms are the least of their worries; they are simply not as rich as they have always believed. With the family fortune teetering in the balance, Charles must do something he swore he would never do: get a job. Booted into the mean streets of Dublin, he is as unprepared for real life as Frank would be for a cotillion. And it turns out that real life is a tad unprepared for Charles, as well.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Nominated for a Whitbread First Novel Award. Full of poignant humour and colourful, if at times broadly drawn, characters.

(summary from another edition)

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