firstficV4finalAugust is First Fiction Month on! Click here to read all our First Fiction coverage. 

Today’s Debut of the Day pick is An Evening of Long Goodbyes, the inventive and hilarious first novel from Irish writer Paul Murray (whose follow up, Skippy Dies, was also marvelous and memorable). The story stars Charles Hythloday, a Dublin would-be gentleman of leisure who doesn't quite have the means to pursue his chosen lifestyle. So, as you do in a comic novel, Charles fakes his own death to collect the insurance money. Of course, things don't quite go according to plan . . .


Murray's simultaneous skewering of both the upper and lower classes is brilliant, but the novel is much more than a farce. It hinges on the complex relationship between Charles and his sister, Bel, a troubled would-be actress. . . . It's one thing to write an outrageously funny book; it's another to infuse that book with tenderness and real emotional depth. Luckily for us, Murray has done both.


Read the full review from our August 2004 issue here.

Related on The Book Case:
Past “Debut of the Day” entries
All First Fiction month coverage


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