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Paul Murray
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An Evening Of Long Goodbyes

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  1,040 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
Acclaimed as one of the funniest and most assured Irish novels of recent years, An Evening of Long Goodbyes is the story of Dubliner Charles Hythloday and the heroic squandering of the family inheritance. Featuring drinking, greyhound racing, vanishing furniture, more drinking, old movies, assorted Dublin lowlife, eviction and the perils of community theatre, Paul Murray's ...more
Published (first published 2003)
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Jul 12, 2013 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thirteen of my friends have read Skippy Dies with a consensus average rating of 4.5 stars. Two friends read An Evening of Long Goodbyes and gave it, on average, 2.5. This says two things: 1) I have clever, discerning friends, and 2) Paul Murray got better -- appreciably so, in fact. There may have been hints of the greatness to come in Skippy, but this, his first attempt, was honestly pretty uneven.

Charles and his sister Bel are twenty-somethings living in the well-to-do part of Dublin. She is
Apr 09, 2012 ·Karen· rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
Re-read in July 2013.

Names: Amaurot:"the shadowy or unknown place," the main city in the centre of the island Utopia.
Hythloday:"expert in nonsense", the voyager who travels around Utopia.
Telsinor: The name of the fictional phone company, obvious reference to Hamlet.

Such fun!

Original review:
Part of my haul from Waterstone's in Dunfermline.

Slurp snort chortle pwaaaah! This is just so much fun! And sad! And zippy to read! But rich and complex at the same time! And I think I’ve used enough exclamati
Ian "Marvin" Graye
The Shortest Ian Graye Review in the Cosmos

Bog Irish Lad Lit takes a turn for the better.

But Wait There’s More!

Yeats meets “Ulysses” meets “The Cherry Orchard”.


Paul Murray quotes Yeats liberally throughout.

I don’t know Yeats well enough to comment on the significance of his poetry to the themes of this novel.

That would require research rather than "sprezzatura". (1)


There is a subtle affinity with James Joyce’s “Ulysses”.

Just watch me make my case.

There are 18 Episodes in “Ulysses”
Jennifer (aka EM)
This book sucked me down into an abyss, and I’ve barely just now escaped. It’s certainly set my Goodreads challenge back weeks. I kept going and going; five pages before bed, sometimes three. A streak of 20 while dividing my attention between it and Grey's Anatomy. Talk about inertia in a plot!! Plot? Where?

After the brilliance of Skippy Dies, I was expecting so much more - or at least, given this was Murray's first novel, some parallels. Some of the complexity; the careful and clever layering o
David Lentz
Aug 03, 2013 David Lentz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"An Evening of Long Goodbyes" is that rare character-driven novel rich in wit and humor accompanied by periods of endearing poignancy and an engaging story line. Paul Murray can really write and his themes seem to come from his own experience in Ireland as a TCD man and impoverished as an English tutor, like Joyce, in Barcelona to blend his life among both the upper and working classes. Charles is a man born into the upper-class of Dublin in a family whose financial fortunes are currently in a s ...more
Dec 23, 2010 Boyd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolute mess of a plot--especially near the end--and generous helpings of melodrama do not outweigh the fact that Murray's picaresque novel is wildly funny at the sentence level and in several whole sections as well. Some of the best parts are those in which the layabout wastrel Charles is ejected from his stately home and, in an exceedingly improbable move, takes refuge in a hovel with his sister's loutish ex-boyfriend. Naturally the lout turns out to have a heart of gold etc., but luckily ...more
Ron Charles
Nov 17, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The quickest way to thin out a shelf of great novels is to restrict yourself to the funny ones. Instead of alphabetizing the bounty that pours in every year, you'll be left casting about for a small vase to hold up the two or three contenders from each decade.

We've got plenty of good humorists in America, but looking for a really substantive comic novel could turn the National Book Award into one of those obscure mathematics prizes that grows dusty waiting for someone to find the last digit of p
Apr 29, 2008 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is hilarious. Its only problem is it took me twice as long to read as it might have...because I had to read each paragraph 2 times, once to myself, once to a friend.

What's fascinating is that about 1/2 way through it, the book starts to deconstruct itself. It starts out hilarious, fun, brilliant, with an incredible love of language. . . and then, what do you know? It becomes realistic.


It was one of the three-four books that made me realize that if I read fiction, I prefer un
Apr 08, 2013 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Another compulsively readable novel from Paul Murray! As in Skippy Dies , Murray pulls you in with comedy before surprising you with poignancy. This book, being more frequently humourous, doesn't have quite the emotional punch of Skippy Dies; the conflicts have lower stakes, though this isn't necessarily a bad thing—the darkness seeping into Charles's life doesn't have the oppressive grimness of the horrors affecting the characters in Skippy Dies. Indeed, the problems that Charles encounters, w ...more
May 24, 2011 Jenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murray is a fantastic writer, and this first novel of his is an incredible accomplishment--made me laugh, cry, all that.

The thing is...I read it after I read his second novel, "Skippy Dies," which is just about one of the best novels I've ever read (made me both laugh and cry harder). So I think reading "An Evening of Long Goodbyes" made me both more charitable toward Murray but also a little disappointed that his first novel isn't as good as his second. No real surprise there, though.

This nov
Kelly Kramer
I've finally learned to put a book down when I don't like it, but I have not yet learned to immediately cull it from my shelves. As a result, I'm hit with pangs of guilt whenever I walk by. Until this past weekend, this one was still politely clearing its throat at me any time I said, "Hmm, what should I read next?" It's finally out of my house and on its way to seduce and disappoint the next reader.

There's promise here, there really is, but the rest of it was so hard to enjoy that had to give
Mar 01, 2009 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book. The endpaper likened it to A Confederacy of Dunces, but this is the FAR BETTER book. The style and construction are similar, as is the main character's rather loose connection to what the world at large calls "reality". Though far from being actually idiotic, Charles is much more of Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster. There is no Jeeves to constantly put Charles right, so he makes his own mistakes and learns important lessons in life. At times you can get lost in the nonsense, but tha ...more
Alex Sarll
Astonishingly good - perhaps even better than its much-praised successor, Skippy Dies. Charles Hythloday is the cheerfully oblivious heir to a declining mansion outside Dublin; a modern Bertie Wooster, except not quite so oblivious as to be unaware of the barbarians at the gates. Except that Bertie and co. never had that distressing meeting with the bank. And so Charles, for all that he is perfectly aware "People don't get jobs to achieve things and learn values! They do it because they have to, ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Allycks rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's springtime and I over-optimistically fell for the first gushy low-cut blurbs that came my way. How my head spun while admiring the abundant heaving decollette which guaranteed an "original, rich, satisfying... and supremely well-written..." ahhh, you don't want to know the rest.

"An Evening of Long Goodbyes: A Novel" is supremely well-written, I'll give it that much. Paul Murray has crafted a supremely well-written but mammothly over-long script for a sit-com pilot starring that snobby guy
Oct 25, 2010 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was very funny and poignant at the same time. I found the beginning in particular very amusing, although toward the end the book took a more serious turn. After the first sequence of events concluded, I wondered where the book could go from there, and was pleasantly surprised that it kept me engaged. I thought the descriptive writing was excellent -- very good at evoking particular images without becoming boring or overinflated. Also, I liked the way the ending tied together and summar ...more
Amy Warrick

Didn't know how to rate this - loved the writing, found bits absolutely hilarious, but got irritated finally by the clueless hero and gave up halfway. I have personal issues with heroes who are that out of it - the reason why I was irritated with A Confederacy of Dunces as well.

But I would still look at anything Paul Murray offers us. Loved Skippy Dies.

Another short broken arm review.
May 10, 2011 Mollie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious narrator. I thought the total cluelessness of Charles might start to grate, but no. Loved it. Paul Murray is a genius!
Not as good as "Skippy".
Mar 20, 2017 Tony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a debut novel, I suppose one has to commend this for attempting a high degree of difficulty. Set in late 1990s Ireland, the author has explicitly taken some of the plot and themes of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" and remixed them in the surprisingly spot-on pastiche of a Wodehouse farce. And while Chekhov's play also mixes tragedy and farce, the combination here didn't quite work for me.

The protagonist is a Bertie Woosterish 24-year-old college dropout, who lolls around his family's large c
Sep 26, 2016 S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had picked this up from a thrift store because it had a bunch of stuff on the cover about being a funny read - and it was clearly new/modern enough to be a very easy read. It was ~460 pages, so it took awhile. But there were some good laughs. I enjoyed the repeated use of the word "Golem" when describing a mysterious and sort of revolting person.

I felt the book was both too heavy and too loose with metaphors and what not. The characters were alright. The fussy sister was just ok, but ultimate
Ilyse Kramer
This was one of my favorite books since I read it in college, I think I arbitrarily came across it and was attracted to the cover. This past weekend, I was reminded of the special place this book has in my life, when I was talking about the pre-recession economy with an old friend, and how our college study abroad experiences-his in Ireland, mine in Italy, occurred at a pinnacle of prosperity in 2005/2006. I started to describe this book to him, and he interrupted me, and reminded me that I was ...more
Nov 21, 2016 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, library, 2016
I don't really know what I think of this book. I’d never heard of it or the author and came to it totally open-minded. It started promisingly but as the character of the protagonist, Charles, became clearer I found it very hard to believe in him. Although in his mid-20s he is clueless about life and .... everything, basically. He is meant to have attended university for a while and has been to school yet the ways of the world, even the most basic, have passed over his head. As the story progress ...more
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
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Dec 17, 2010 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul Murray's Skippy Dies was my arbitrarily chosen favorite novel of '10 (GAH do not make me make this decision!), and I am so very, very pleased to report that his first novel is every bit as good. Reviewers (including me) have thrown around comparisons to Wodehouse, but--and I say this while shamefacedly hanging my head for never having read Wodehouse, just totally watched all the Fry and Laurie Jeeves and Woosters--I think Evening also partakes greedily of the spirit of Evelyn Waugh, at his ...more
Michael Smith
Feb 02, 2014 Michael Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it's because it's interesting. Sometimes because it's funny. Sometimes it's because it's challenging, true-to life or beautifully crafted. It may even be because you think it will improve you.

Yes, there are many reasons to like a book. The reason I liked, and came to love, this one, is because it was just so damned enjoyable. In the over-used expression of the enthusiastic teacher, it was a pleasure to read. The nearer I got to the end, the sadder I became at the thought that it would
Jul 02, 2011 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ebooks, 2012
Murray's sophomore novel, Skippy Dies was on my top ten list for 2011. I was delighted to discover his first novel, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, after finishing Skippy Dies . Reaction to the first one is mixed here on GoodReads and I do agree that it's picaresque structure often meandered a wee bit too much to sustain deep interest. Nevertheless, I think this was brilliantly done and is a perfect indicator of the talent that Murray displayed with his second effort. I suspect that the mixed react ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tee-hee. As funny as they claim. Charles Hythlodale, a useless Bertie Wooster-ish Irish wastrel, lounges around the house drinking, sneering at the outside world, extolling elegance, and watching Gene Tierney movies. There are Bosnians in his house (he thinks; they're from somewhere over there, anyway), and he has never held a job; indeed, he drops out of Trinity and later meets a friend who complains that "rudimentary knowledge of theology" is no longer grounds for an entirely undeserved living ...more
Jan 07, 2014 Ash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that touches the heart (eventually). I initially found this book irritating as it is told through the eyes of a bumbling posh rich twat who appears to have absolutely no handle on reality, but is a nice enough chap that he blunders his way through life, not really getting anything below the surface level. His tortured soul of a sister, Bel, stands in strong contrast with him - she worries about everything, she's deep, caring, sympathetic, and tortured with neuroses mostly triggered by a c ...more
Charles Hythloday, twenty-ish boy (no, not yet a man) resides at Amaurot, his family's estate, with his sister Bel, an aspiring actress, and their Bosnian housekeeper. Charles brings new meaning to indolence, wiling away his days in a drunken fog, and watching Gene Tierney movies into the night. Charles feels his mission, to revive the contemplative life of the country gentleman, is a serious one. The first quarter of the book is quite fun with Charles at his best. Though he is dyssynchronous wi ...more
Jul 01, 2016 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly funny book which takes a darker turn towards the finale. Reminiscent of Wodehouse at times, An Evening of Long Goodbyes concerns Charles, a bumbling, workshy middle/upper class buffoon, who has never had to lift a finger his entire life. However things go awry for him when the details of his deceased Father's finances become apparent, meaning there may be no money left to keep up his idle lifestyle.

That said, despite the book being written in the first person as Charles', it's argu
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Paul Murray is an Irish novelist. He studied English literature at Trinity College, Dublin and has written two novels: An Evening of Long Goodbyes (shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2003, and nominated for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award) and Skippy Dies (longlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize and the 2010 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic fiction).
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“You're talking like a Stalinist!' I cried. 'People don't get jobs to achieve things and learn values! They do it because they have to, and then they use whatever's left over to buy themselves things that make them feel less bad about having jobs! Can't you see, it's just a terrible vicious circle!” 12 likes
“Liam was too Scottish-'
'Oh but so Scottish, Bel! Come on, the bagpipes? The interminable quotations from Braveheart? Anyone who's proud of coming from Scotland obviously has issues-”
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