An Evening of Long Goodbyes
An Evening of Long Goodbyes
By Paul Murray
Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812970401, 437pp.
Publication Date: September 13, 2005
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 canapes 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.
"Paul Murray manages to fit a brilliant social novel in the small spaces of a farce, without ever losing his lightness of touch or his sense of humor. The result is something absolutely unique. Murray starts with Wodehouse (and does him proud), but ends somewhere entirely his own–somewhere very, very funny and surprisingly touching. I really love this book."
–Arthur Phillips, bestselling author of Prague
“A lyrical, satirical tour de force, a huge, hilarious elegy. A surreal and very funny festival of truths, fictions, luck, and love. How can this be a first novel? A triumph.”
–Ali Smith, Booker Prize finalist and author of Hotel World
“One of the most entertaining and laugh-out-loud Irish yarns of recent years.”
“The plot scuttles along with Wodehouse-like delirium. . . . Murray’s clearly having fun, but beneath the bouncy tone he manages to weave real depth into the characters’ relationships.”
–Time Out (London)
“A hilarious, rich and satisfying novel.”
–The Times Literary Supplement
“[A] comedy of the highest caliber.”
–The Sunday Tribune (Ireland)