The Bee Sting: A Novel (Hardcover)

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From the author of Skippy Dies comes Paul Murray's The Bee Sting, an irresistibly funny, wise, and thought-provoking tour de force about family, fortune, and the struggle to be a good person when the world is falling apart.

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?

About the Author

Paul Murray was born in 1975 in Dublin. He is the author of three novels, including An Evening of Long Goodbyes, which was short-listed for the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. Skippy Dies (2010) was long-listed for the Booker Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Mark and the Void (2015) was the joint winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and was named one of Time’s Top 10 Fiction Books of the year.

Praise For…

Advance Praise

“Trust Paul Murray to make 650 pages feel too short. Seriously . . . Murray unspools the lives of four relatively ordinary people with such brilliant specificity and extravagant empathy, in cool-water prose mixed with his trademark wry darkness, that it’s difficult to let them go at the end.”
—Emily Temple, Literary Hub

“Murray is a master of the darkly ominous, limning these four seemingly demon-driven lives in granular detail. The novel moves expertly among them, switching from one point of view to another while offering both present circumstances and characters’ back stories. Like Murray’s Skippy Dies (2010), this is a tour de force, beautifully written (a cat was “so black it looked like a hole in the universe”) and perfectly apposite in its tone. It is, in sum, utterly fascinating and unforgettable.”
—Michael Cart, Booklist (starred)

"No moment or episode is implausible . . . carried by Murray’s fine, measured prose and uncanny plotting . . . Irresistible."
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374600303
ISBN-10: 0374600309
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: August 15th, 2023
Pages: 656
Language: English