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The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
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The Bee Sting (edition 2023)

by Paul Murray (Author)

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7103532,308 (3.89)98
"The Barnes family is in trouble. Dickie's once-lucrative car business is going under--but rather than face the music, he's spending his days in the woods, building an apocalypse-proof bunker with a renegade handyman. His wife Imelda is selling off her jewelry on eBay, while their teenage daughter Cass, formerly top of her class, seems determined to binge-drink her way through her final exams. And twelve-year-old PJ is putting the final touches to his grand plan to run away from home. Where did it all go wrong? A patch of ice on the tarmac, a casual favor to a charming stranger, a bee caught beneath a bridal veil--can a single moment of bad luck change the direction of a life? And if the story has already been written--is there still time to find a happy ending?"--… (more)
Member:ElizaBev
Title:The Bee Sting
Authors:Paul Murray (Author)
Info:Hamish Hamilton (Penguin Books) (2023), 643 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Bee Sting by Paul Murray

Recently added bysrfudji, aprille, dugmel, private library, sesmiel, shaunie, HLeakey, missywhidden, Karenjo, rachelmarlene
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» See also 98 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  pdebolt | May 21, 2024 |
Nope. DNF this one. Absolutely nothing could draw me back to this book after a month of trying to read it. Young high school girls, dis functional family has been done far more interestingly elsewhere. Good writing, bad story and plot. And, talk about too long! ( )
  dugmel | May 20, 2024 |
This was one wild ride. I don't read much fiction, and I don't ever remember reading a 650 page work of fiction, but I did this time. Took a bit to get used to the back and forth, in and out of each character's conscience, but I found a rhythm after about 50 pages. Takes place in Ireland in the early 21st century, a modern tale of family and financial intrigues complete with all of the politically correct themes. I liked the writing and the characterization, but the overall arc of the story was a bit much and seemed to lack logic in places. Several parts of the story were introduced and then not resolved, and I personally found the ending unsatisfying. Still, I gave it four stars. Maybe it should have been 3.5 or so, but again I will emphasize that I do not read much fiction. ( )
  Cantsaywhy | May 5, 2024 |
I really liked the first part of this book, about an Irish family who seems to be falling apart. however, it was quite a long book, and they had lost me by the last 50 pages; and I am not sure I know what happened.

I most enjoyed the sections from the daughter, Cass. Dickie was annoying and I never did understand why anyone put up with him. ( )
  banjo123 | Mar 16, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
...anyone who starts “The Bee Sting” will be immediately absorbed by this extraordinary story about the derailing of a once-prosperous family. Although Murray is a fantastically witty writer, his empathy with these characters is so deep that he can convey the comedy of their foibles without the condescending bitterness of satire. His command of their lives is so detailed that he can strip away every pretense and lie without spoiling a surprise. And, most impressive, while sinking into the peculiar flaws of this one uniquely troubled family, Murray captures the anxiety many of us feel living on the edge of economic ruin in these latter days of the Anthropocene Epoch.... Murray explores what it’s like to maintain the trappings of Western opulence at the inflection point of our planet’s health, to carry on with the masquerade of domestic life while harboring the knowledge that everything’s cooked. For some of these characters, that’s a terrifying prospect, of course, but for others, already broiling in the crucible of their own shame, a future sterilized by cataclysm is weirdly attractive.
added by Lemeritus | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (pay site) (Aug 22, 2023)
 
In Paul Murray’s latest novel, “The Bee Sting” — an epic tale reaching back decades and spanning roughly 650 pages — things are pretty apocalyptic for one down-on-their-luck family, and that’s before we get to climate change. The problems, you might say, are coming from inside the house....Through the Barneses’ countless personal dramas, Murray explores humanity’s endless contradictions: How brutal and beautiful life is. How broken and also full of potential. How endlessly fraught and persistently promising. Whether or not we can ever truly change our course, the hapless Barneses will keep you hoping, even after you turn the novel’s last page.
added by Lemeritus | editNew York Times, Jen Doll (pay site) (Aug 12, 2023)
 
Mainly there is an inexorable trudging from bad to worse, with Murray tirelessly inventing fresh woes for the Barneses. And while financial pressure is a propulsive force—as it is to varying degrees in all his novels—other pressures come into play: sexual, religious, educational, community, parental, peer. It’s hard not to feel the author is piling on, not to wonder how the novel might have gained from some comic relief. At the same time, no moment or episode is implausible, and carried by Murray’s fine, measured prose and uncanny plotting, the book presents a striking abundance of what for too many may be normal life. A grim and demanding and irresistible anatomy of misfortune.
added by Lemeritus | editKirkus Reviews (Apr 24, 2023)
 
The title “The Bee Sting” sets the tone before the reader knows how to separate false chords from genuine ones in the novel. Cass may not be the shallow Irish valley girl she at first appears to be. PJ may see more than he seems to at first. The economy may not be the catalyst for the characters’ problems. The source of all the difficulty may be self-deceit.
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Murrayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Came, Lisa CaruccioNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, BarryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, BeauNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, CiaranNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O’Sullivan, HeatherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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These are my best days, when I shake with fear.
John Donne
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In the next town over, a man had killed his family.
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"The Barnes family is in trouble. Dickie's once-lucrative car business is going under--but rather than face the music, he's spending his days in the woods, building an apocalypse-proof bunker with a renegade handyman. His wife Imelda is selling off her jewelry on eBay, while their teenage daughter Cass, formerly top of her class, seems determined to binge-drink her way through her final exams. And twelve-year-old PJ is putting the final touches to his grand plan to run away from home. Where did it all go wrong? A patch of ice on the tarmac, a casual favor to a charming stranger, a bee caught beneath a bridal veil--can a single moment of bad luck change the direction of a life? And if the story has already been written--is there still time to find a happy ending?"--

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