Picture of author.

Paul Murray (1) (1975–)

Author of Skippy Dies

For other authors named Paul Murray, see the disambiguation page.

5+ Works 3,638 Members 181 Reviews 7 Favorited

Works by Paul Murray

Skippy Dies (2010) 2,256 copies
The Bee Sting (2023) 803 copies
An Evening of Long Goodbyes (2003) 352 copies
The Mark and the Void (2015) 223 copies

Associated Works

Granta 82: Life's Like That (2003) — Contributor — 146 copies


2010 (14) 2011 (24) 2023 (11) 21st century (18) adolescence (16) audiobook (10) boarding school (50) Booker longlist (13) coming of age (39) contemporary (14) contemporary fiction (17) death (15) drugs (27) Dublin (33) ebook (28) family (24) favorites (13) fiction (364) general fiction (11) humor (46) Ireland (161) Irish (40) Irish author (10) Irish fiction (33) Irish literature (40) Kindle (27) library (12) literary fiction (24) literature (25) novel (50) own (14) read (28) read in 2011 (13) school (22) suicide (11) teenagers (20) to-read (365) unread (16) wishlist (17) young adult (10)

Common Knowledge



This was a chunky one, but is one of those long books which never feels like a slog.

Set in modern-day rural Ireland, this hefty novel is a family saga about the unravelling of the Barnes family. Dickie Barnes' wife Imelda is at his throat as he's seemingly letting the family car business hit the rocks through ineptitude, but as each section of the book alternates between each family member we learn that no one is as they seem on the surface, with enough skeletons in the closet within the family to fill the local graveyard.

This is one of those books that's just a bloomin' enjoyable read. It's not highbrow literature, but it is eminently readable from the get-go. I don't think it's worthy of its Booker short-listing; in fact I don't think it's Booker material at all. This is mass-market fiction, make no bones about it, but it's fun and pulls you along. Randomly, in the sections about Imelda, punctuation gets omitted, which felt a bit contrived but probably instantly ticked some Booker short-list box.

The last quarter of the book gets a little over-dramatic and far-fetched, with an annoyingly inconclusive ending, but despite it's silliness despite yourself it does get quite gripping.

4 stars - I almost gave this 4.5 stars just for being such a fun ride, but it's not in the same league as my other 4.5 star reads, so I have to be a little harsh. 4.5 stars for readability, but 4 stars overall as it strays into chick-lit territory. Worth a read, though.
… (more)
AlisonY | 34 other reviews | Jun 16, 2024 |
I haven’t read anything by Paul Murray. The Bee Sting is set upon 5 parts. The daughter Cass narrates part one, the son PJ part 2, the mother Imelda part 3, the father Dickie, part 4 and everyone taking turns in the final part, the culmination and pulling together of everything.
Parts 1 to 4 include so much information and backstory that I wondered how it would all come together. I didn’t care for the writing style of Imelda’s part. No periods to indicate end of sentences. Supposedly that was supposed to indicate that we were reading her stream of consciousness but it changed the cadence of the writing and slowed me down considerably. It actually made me want to stop reading the book.
The final part of the book demonstrates what a great writer Paul Murray is. All those details that I wondered about now made sense. But then the ending is left up to me. Not sure I like that.
… (more)
kayanelson | 34 other reviews | Jun 2, 2024 |
A big, meaty family story packed with incident and feeling. I've been knocked out with COVID this week and something like The Bee Sting was exactly what I needed. Alternating POVs from each member of the family with steadily smaller and smaller chonks for each of them. The audiobook really made this a seamless and unputdownable experience. Shades of A Little Life, I Know This Much Is True, that kinda thing, so BE WARNED. My BOTY.

The Bee Sting is a story that we use to gloss over the most important thing in our lives, which we will never ever talk about.… (more)
Amateria66 | 34 other reviews | May 24, 2024 |
I am conflicted about this book. There are passages that are exquisitely written and there are pages that are left me wanting to speed read to get past them.

It takes place in a small town near Dublin where Dickie (what grown man goes by Dickie?) and Imelda are raising their two children, Cass and PJ. Their biological families are as far removed from each other as possible - Imelda grew up in a hardscrabble existence with a short-tempered father and a slew of brutish brothers. Dickie is from a relatively well-to-do family with a younger brother, Frank. Frank is the family's shining star and celebrated in their town for his athletic prowess and charisma. Dickie is, by comparison, dull and studious. When Frank and Imelda fall in love, it is a perfect blend of her beauty and his status. After an unthinkable tragedy, Imelda is bereft and turns to Dickie for solace. Thus, their future is ordained. Dickie is now the heir apparent to his father's successful car dealership, and Imelda is happily buying whatever she wants.

In this book, secrets abound, and Dickie's is at the forefront. His days as a student at Trinity are never far from his thoughts as the dealership struggles and his attention is focused on creating a survival bunker. Cass heads to Trinity as a student where her secrets are unearthed. PJ is left virtually on his own to aid in building the bunker while his parents are oblivious to him.

The conclusion is startling, leaving us to wonder what happened. It is a very long book with no seeming resolutions.
… (more)
1 vote
pdebolt | 34 other reviews | May 21, 2024 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by

Charts & Graphs