Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2023
It can't be overstated how purely pleasurable The Bee Sting is to read. Murray's brilliant new novel, about a rural Irish clan, posits the author as Dublin's answer to Jonathan Franzen . . . A 650-page slab of compulsive high-grade entertainment, The Bee Sting oozes pathos while being very funny to boot . . . Murray's observational gifts and A-game phrase-making render almost every page - every line, it sometimes seems - abuzz with fresh and funny insights . . . At its core this is a novel concerned with the ties that bind, secrets and lies, love and loss. They're all here, brought to life with captivating vigour in a first-class performance to cherish * Observer (Anthony Cummins) * The Bee Sting is the finest novel that Murray has yet written and will surely be one of the books of 2023 . . . It bears comparison to the brilliant comic writer Jonathan Coe... But Murray is his own writer, capable of keeping a multi-faceted and compulsive plot moving along with alacrity and confidence, while seamlessly blending drama, comedy and heartbreak... For 13 years, Paul Murray has been best known as the author of Skippy Dies. That, I suspect, is about to change * Sunday Independent * Immersive, brilliantly structured, beautifully written, so dense yet so compelling, [and] as laugh-out-loud funny as it is deeply disturbing . . . The Bee Sting is as ambitious as anything that has gone before, but with a focus and shape that grants it great depth as well as breadth. Seriously, all you need is this, your suntan lotion and a few days off work and you're good to go . . . I didn't see the plot twists coming. And they keep on coming, And coming again . . . I began with an ovation. I'll end abruptly, and in awe... Paul Murray, the undisputed reigning champion of epic Irish tragicomedy, has done it again * The Spectator (Ian Samson) * Expertly foreshadowed and so intricately put together, a brilliantly funny, deeply sad portrait of an Irish family in crisis . . . Murray is triumphantly back on home turf - troubled adolescents, regretful adults, secrets signposted and exquisitely revealed, each line soaked in irony ranging from the gentle to the savage . . . We live though hundreds of pages on tenterhooks, and the suspense and revelations keep coming until the end [...] He is brilliant on fathers and sons, sibling rivalry, grief, self-sabotage and self-denial, as well as the terrible weakness humans have for magical thinking... A tragicomic triumph, you won't read a sadder, truer, funnier novel this year * Guardian (Justine Jordan) * A triumph. The Bee Sting deserves all the praise I am heaping on it. It is generous, immersive, sharp-witted and devastating; the sort of novel that becomes a friend for life * Financial Times (John Self) * This bumper novel is already gaining plaudits as the book of the summer, and if it's a meaty, heart punching, expertly executed family saga you need this August, then you can stop the search now . . . Murray delivers scarcely a duff sentence in a 600-page novel that's pure unadulterated pleasure. It's been compared to Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections; I'd argue it's better than that * Daily Mail (Claire Allfree) * No one writes tragicomedy as good as this . . . Both brilliant entertainment and a penetrating look at the human condition, as heavy with pathos as it is rich with humour. And if 650 pages asks a lot of the reader, in this case it more than delivers * i * Delightfully rackety, raucously funny... The Bee Sting is on a par with Skippy Dies, Murray's most beloved book, and certainly exceeds it in ambition. A masterpiece * Irish Independent * Murray is a natural storyteller who knows when to withhold, to indulge, to surprise. He specialises, like Dickens, in lengthy sagas that are mammoth in scope, generous with detail and backstory, flush with humour and colourful characters, all of it steeped in social realism . . . Ambitious, e
Paul Murray was born in Dublin in 1975 and is the author of An Evening of Long Goodbyes, Skippy Dies, The Mark and the Void and The Bee Sting. An Evening of Long Goodbyes was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and nominated for the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. Skippy Dies was shortlisted for the Costa Novel award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and longlisted for the Booker Prize. The Mark and the Void won the Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2016. The Bee Sting was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2023. Paul Murray lives in Dublin.