The Bee Sting

The Bee Sting


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Susan's Review

Another brilliant Irish writer! Paul Murray’s fourth novel, The Bee Sting, has been longlisted for this year’s Booker Prize. Told from the perspective of four members of a troubled family, it explores the effects of economic hardship and class difference on individuals and a small community. The first two sections, narrated by Cass, a whip-smart but deeply insecure adolescent, and Imelda, her vain and discontented mother, are cleverly satiric, sometimes laugh-out loud funny. But when husband and father Dickie takes up the story, matters become much darker, as he reflects on the death of his brother, the failure of his marriage, and his desire to win his father’s approval. Add to the mix his young nerdy son PJ, and the book confronts us with the realities of sexual grooming, climate change and doomsday prepping. The Bee Sting is psychologically astute, sometimes sexually graphic and always morally generous in its desire to understand the secret desires of people we think we know. It's both shocking and tender, epic in scale and intimate, and utterly immersive. Highly recommended.


Publishers Review


From the author of Skippy Dies comes a dazzlingly intricate and poignant tragicomedy about family, fortune, and the struggle to be a good man at the end of the world

The Barnes family is in trouble. Dickie's car business is going under, but instead of doing anything about it, he's out in the woods preparing for the actual end of the world. Meanwhile his wife Imelda is selling off her jewellery on eBay and half-heartedly dodging the attentions of fast-talking local wrongun Big Mike. Their teenage daughter Cass, usually top of her class, seems determined to drink her way through the whole thing. And twelve year old PJ is spending more and more time on video game forums, where he's met a friendly boy named Ethan who never turns his camera on and wants PJ to run away from home.

Digging down through layers of family history, the roots of this crisis stretch deep into the past. Meanwhile in the present, the fault lines keep spreading, ghosts slipping in through the cracks, and every step brings the Barneses closer to a fatal precipice. When the moment of reckoning finally arrives, all four of them must decide how far they're willing to go to save the family, and whether - if the story's already been written - there's still time to give it a happy ending.