An Evening of Long Goodbyes by Paul Murray
A Novel

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Synopsis

Vastly entertaining and outright hilarious, Paul Murray’s debut heralds the arrival of a major new Irish talent. His protagonist is endearing and wildly witty–part P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster, with a cantankerous dash of A Confederacy of Dunces’ Ignatius J. Reilly thrown in. With its rollicking plot and colorful characters, An Evening of Long Goodbyes is a delightful and erudite comedy of epic proportions.

Charles Hythloday observes the world from the comfortable confines of Amaurot, his family estate, and doesn’t much care for what he sees. He prefers the black-and-white sanctum of classic cinema–especially anything starring the beautiful Gene Tierney–to the roiling and rumbling of twenty-first-century Dublin. At twenty-four, Charles aims to resurrect the lost lifestyle of the aristocratic country gentleman–contemplative walks, an ever-replenished drink, and afternoons filled with canapés as prepared by the Bosnian housekeeper, Mrs. P.

But Charles’s cozy existence is about to face a serious shake-up. His sister, Bel, an aspiring actress and hopeless romantic, has brought to Amaurot her most recent–and to Charles’s mind, most ill-advised–boyfriend. Frank is hulking and round, and resembles nothing so much as a large dresser, probably a Swedish one. He bets on greyhounds and talks endlessly of brawls and pubs in an accent that brings tears to Charles’s eyes. And, most suspiciously, his entrance into the Hythlodays’ lives just happens to coincide with the disappearance of an ever-increasing number of household antiques and baubles.

Soon, Charles and Bel discover that missing heirlooms are the least of their worries; they are simply not as rich as they have always believed. With the family fortune teetering in the balance, Charles must do something he swore he would never do: get a job. Booted into the mean streets of Dublin, he is as unprepared for real life as Frank would be for a cotillion. And it turns out that real life is a tad unprepared for Charles, as well.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Paul Murray

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PAUL MURRAY was born in 1975. He studied English literature it Trinity College, Dublin, and took a master's degree in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. A former bookseller, Murray lives in Dublin. An Evening of Long Goodbyes, his first novel, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize, and earned Murray a nomination for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Random House. 484 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for An Evening of Long Goodbyes

Kirkus Reviews

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His suspicions aroused, Charles hires a private detective (actually, he’s just a drunken postman) to set a trap for Frank—but the truth turns out to be stranger and more horrible than Charles had imagined.

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The New York Times

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Holed up in the family manse, the Irish hero of this first novel by Paul Murray tries to keep modernity at bay.

Sep 05 2004 | Read Full Review of An Evening of Long Goodbyes: ...

The New York Times

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In a contest between the aristocratic Charles and the egalitarian representatives of new Ireland, I suspect that many readers will be inclined to give Charles their votes.

Sep 05 2004 | Read Full Review of An Evening of Long Goodbyes: ...

The New York Times

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Holed up in the family manse, the Irish hero of this first novel by Paul Murray tries to keep modernity at bay.

Sep 05 2004 | Read Full Review of An Evening of Long Goodbyes: ...

Publishers Weekly

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Meanwhile, the family's Bosnian housekeeper smuggles her grown-up children into the country, and Bel starts a theater company at Amaurot with the housekeeper's striking daughter, Mirela, who's much too clever for smitten Charles.

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Entertainment Weekly

Like a grandnephew of Bertie Wooster, Charles Hythloday is a drunken, snobbish, twentysomething college dropout who's alarmed to discover the letters from the bank that he's been ignoring portend an imminent seizure of his family's beloved Irish mansion.

Aug 13 2004 | Read Full Review of An Evening of Long Goodbyes: ...

Christian Science Monitor

This book review originally ran on Aug. 3, 2004.] The quickest way to thin out a shelf of great novels is to restrict yourself to the funny ones.

Dec 28 2008 | Read Full Review of An Evening of Long Goodbyes: ...

Bookmarks Magazine

Elizabeth Bukowski NY Times Book Review 3 of 5 Stars "These early scenes, in which Charles tries in vain to protect the sanctity of his ancestral home, are the novel’s best.

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of An Evening of Long Goodbyes: ...

The Paris Review

Then, when the boom came, they stopped having child-oriented windows and started having these really nasty Helmut Lang soft-cyber-porn-type windows with a bunch of emaciated blue mannequins wearing just a giant watch and staring bleakly out of the windows.

Dec 21 2011 | Read Full Review of An Evening of Long Goodbyes: ...

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