Paul Murray's "Skippy Dies" is a tragicomic masterpiece about a Dublin boarding school.
It is longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius whose hobbies include very difficult maths and the Search of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
Daniel 'Skippy' Juster is his roommate. In the grand old Dublin institution that is Seabrook College for Boys, nobody pays either of them much attention.
But when Skippy falls for Lori, the frisbee-playing siren from the girls' school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest - including Carl, part-time drug-dealer and official school psychopath...A tragic comedy of epic sweep and dimension, "Skippy Dies" scours the corners of the human heart and wrings every drop of pathos, humour and hopelessness out of life, love, Robert Graves, mermaids, M-theory, and everything in between. "That rare thing, a comic epic...Murray is a brilliant comic writer, but also humane and touching, and he captures the misery and elation, joy and anxiety of teenage life". (David Nicholls, "Guardian"). "Novels rarely come as funny and as moving as this utterly brilliant exploration of teenhood and the anticlimax of becoming an adult ...one of the finest comic novels written anywhere". (Eileen Battersby, "Irish Times"). "I loved "Skippy Dies" ...three novels fused into one ignited tragicomic tour de force". (Ali Smith, "Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year"). "An unforgettably exuberant saga set in an Irish boys' school.
The insulting repartee is Shakespearean, the minor characters hilarious, and Murray captures the fleeting joys and lasting sorrows of adolescence perfectly". (Emma Donoghue, "Daily Telegraph"). "A triumph ...brimful of wit and narrative energy". ("Sunday Times"). "The sprawling brilliance of Paul Murray's darkly comic second novel works on many different levels...When you finish the last page, you may be tempted to start all over again". ("Metro"). Paul Murray is the author of "An Evening of Long Goodbyes", shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2005, and "Skippy Dies", longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 672 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 07/04/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780141009957
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by Eyejaybee
Absolute drivel! I suppose some people might find this book amusing, but probably not many whom I might ever want to talk to!That's eight quid I'll never get back!
Review by polarbear123
At first I thought I would not like this as it seemed like the antithesis of chicklit which is equally as deplorable I guess. However this book has hidden depths and moments of sheer brilliance. Yes ther is a lot of juvenility within these pages and for that reason maybe this is a book best enjoyed by men of a certain age. However there is a great dissection of the human soul in here and when you find it you will have a great big smile across your face. Definitely worth the time and patience it takes to get through the 660 odd pages. Go Von Blowjob!
Review by DeltaQueen50
A true tragicomedy, Skippy Dies by Paul Murray is an enjoyable and moving story that circulates in and around the Irish Private School of Seabrook College. The book opens with the death of Skippy, a fourteen year old pupil, but then spirals backward to encompass various characters. The story unfolds through the eyes of these very different personalities, each one having his own distinct point of view, but are we really learning Skippy’s truth? Be it fellow students or teachers, each has his own story and there are plenty of heartaches, pain and laughter in the days leading up to Skippy’s death. I have heard that thoughts of sex run through an average male adolescent’s brain every 15 seconds, and this book attests to that fact. These kids turn just about everything into a sexual reference, even Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Less Travelled” becomes, in their minds, an ode to anal sex. This author has a way of reaching into the minds of teenage boys and really delivering a true to life picture. Although very humorous, Skippy Dies has a dark side as well as the characters’ failures and flaws are slowly exposed.At 661 pages, Skippy Dies is a big, expansive, and brilliant read that gives us a vivid reminder of being fourteen, experiencing first love, and finding out the lie of Santa Claus is just the tip of the iceberg in a long list of life’s disappointments. And although Skippy dies, this poignant story is much more about life than death. Highly recommended.
Review by kinsey_m
In some ways this is a flawed novel, but in so many others it is such a great novel.The writing is very good, and the most important thing is that the characters and the school become very real, so much so that when I finished the book I was sad that I would no longer hear from them. The great thing I found in this book is that I could imagine a 30 year olds that Skippy (if he had survived), Ruprecht, Dennis, etc would eventually become, and at the same time see the 14 year old inside Howard, the Coach or Aurelie. It has to be said that part of that is due to the parallelisms within the book. The parallelism don't stop here, either: WW1, physics,Irish folklore...This is also a very funny (and at the same time deeply sad) book, thanks mainly to the very hormonal 14 year old characters, who'll take you back to your own adolescence.