An Evening of Long Goodbyes by Paul Murray (migrated from bookblogger)

This is the most well-written book that I didn’t like very much.  The writing is witty and clever, even making me chuckle throughout.  The vocabulary is great and you can hear the accents of the characters in the wording.

The story is about Charles, who is a wealthy young man who has left college and is doing nothing but laying around his mansion, when he learns that he is actually is no longer as wealthy as he thought. Suddenly, he’s thrust into the world and has to survive and get – say it isn’t so! — a job.  His sister is an aspiring actress who is the only person in the world he actually cares about and the story develops around their relationship.

Unfortunately, this main character, Charles, is a loser for whom at least I felt no attachment.  I am still trying to figure out if he is utterly snobby and self-absorbed or if he just has Asperger’s, because he is completely unaware of the feelings of anyone around him and it is so extreme that it makes him not credible as a character.  I think that this is part of the point of the story, but I only learned that so late in the book that it was just too much work to be worth it.  So it is hard to continue to read this story about someone you don’t care about.  (His sister is really not much better either.  On the other hand, his sister’s boyfriend, Frank, who at first Charles dislikes or rather, disdains, is the only character I really did like.  He’s actually the only endearing character in the story.)

It seems the writer has great potential but needs a better story and better characters to work with.  Too bad…


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