Book review: The Bee Sting is a remarkable display of bravura from a great Irish writer

Paul Murray, author of Skippy Dies, has produced another tragicomic masterpiece that recalls Tolstoy’s sprawling epics about families

Paul Murray: The blackest of humour permeates the story of a family falling apart in The Bee Sting. Picture: Lee Pellegrini

Paul Murray’s second novel Skippy Dies, published in 2010, was a marvellous and mammoth mixture of the tragic (there’s a death by doughnuts in a universe that string theory nearly proves is made out of loneliness) and the comic (flatulence in a Catholic boarding school is never not funny). The meta machinations of 2015’s The Mark and the Void, on the other hand, made for a bit more of a high-finance head-scratcher.

The Bee Sting, ...