The Bee Sting by Paul Murray – Our Review… Shortlisted for the Booker Prize
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2023, and Winner of The An Irish Post Book of the Year 2023.
Taking place in a small country town in Ireland, this novel follows the turbulent story of the Barnes family, who have an affinity for keeping secrets and making bad decisions. Faced with the impending failure of his car business, father Dickie takes to the woods to spend his time building a doomsday bunker. While his wife Imelda sells her beloved possessions to keep the family afloat, teenage daughter Cass juggles the challenges of final exam studies, underage drinking, and adolescent relationships. At the same time the young and trusting PJ navigates friendships, bullies, and his elaborate plan to keep his family together.
Murray’s characters come to life, and the lengthier novel gives us a greater insight into their perspectives and how their past has come to impact their present. The Bee Sting paints a vivid picture of small town and family dynamics, loss, persistence, and the consequences of a single moment. Murray delves into issues of class, technology, stereotypes, and discrimination while creating an easy, humourous and enjoyable read that ultimately, is about the lengths we go to in the name of love.
Review by Jess @ Great Escape Books