Skippy and Ruprecht are having a doughnut-eating race one evening when Skippy turns purple and falls off his chair.....And so begins this epic, tragic, comic, brilliant novel set in and around Dublin's Seabrook College for Boys. Principally concerning the lives, loves, mistakes and triumphs of overweight maths-whiz Ruprecht Van Doren and his roommate Daniel 'Skippy' Juster, it features a Frisbee-throwing siren called Lori, the joys (and horrors) of first love, the use and blatant misuse of prescription drugs, Carl (the official school psychopath), various attempts to unravel string theory... while at the same time exploring the very deepest mysteries of the human heart.
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010 and shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction
©2010 Paul Murray (P)2011 Penguin Books Ltd
"Marvellous, witty, heartbreaking, intensely moving, excellent. The writing is second to none, the banter brilliant. Crazy, but beautiful." (Daily Telegraph)
"One of the most enjoyable, funny and moving reads of this year. A rare tragicomedy that's both genuinely tragic and genuinely comic." (The Guardian)
"Savagely funny, brimful of wit, energy, poetry and vision, unflaggingly entertaining. A triumph." (The Sunday Times)
"Hilarious, heartbreaking, totally engrossing. A triumph." (Daily Mail)
Skippy Dies is based primarily in the all male Seabrook College, home to day and boarding pupils alike. It fixes in on both the young teenage students and their teachers, and their lives away from school.
The book opens with as the title states, Daniel `Skippy' Juster dying. At first the reason for his death seems obvious, but the plot then goes back in time and we slowly discover that the cause of Skippy's death isn't as simple as people initially suspected.
It deals beautifully with the story behind each of the main characters, exploring their past, their family life, what brought them to the here and now and their current emotional state. When you add the girls school next door into the mix the story really takes off.
As I said the title is very self explanatory, but all is not what it seems, so my advice is to let Murray take you on this wonderfully touching journey of discovery.
I don't want to give away too much other than to say all the characters are wonderfully portrayed in such fantastic detail and brought to life by the first class narration of Patrick Moy. Combine Murray's style of writing and Moy’s storytelling and the result you have is both hilarious and poignant.
This is not one to miss.
I am two-thirds through this book and am enjoying it so much I need to write a review now. I read and loved Paul Murray's first novel An Evening Of Long Goodbyes, which was severely underrated and overlooked, and I have had to wait 7 years for this, his second book. But oh boy was the wait worth it. This is a rare creature: an epic comic novel. Its setting is intimate, its ideas are expansive and its structure is subtley complex and tightly-knit. This is all woven from a painfully truthful portrait of adolescence. (I must add here I normally run a mile from books about adolescence, having no desire to be reminded of it.) As many great comic novels have, there is also a dark heart beating in it producing some unexpected, profoundly moving moments. If that is not enough to recommend it, I have to say this book is seemingly written to be read by Patrick Moy, whose interpretation is so pitch perfect, it turns the whole listening experience into an absolute joy.
Just got hooked on the story, it was funny, sad, thought provoking, shocking and clever.I loved how various themes were explored and woven seamlessly into the plot.
The narration by Patrick Moy was brilliant and was just the icing on the cake.
I listen and enjoy many audio books. This is however is one that will be a hstandout for me. The reader brings out the characters in such a way that they stay with you even when you have stopped listening and are going about your day. It is on its own a great epic a book, darkly funny and heartfelt but Patrick Moy gives it a life of it's own. If you could recommend a book to any friend as a listen over a read this is a good choice.
This is a brilliant book. It kind of creeps up on you. For the first 30 minutes or so I was all 'meh, I might just leave this and give Bill Bryson another shot'. But I kept on and I am glad I did. So if you feel the same, just keep going a bit longer and let it get under your skin.
I had never heard of the writer or the reader - both are fantastic. Turns out that the book isn't about anyone Australian at all! It's funny, dark humour mind you, very dark. But parts of it made me laugh out loud, but it was OK because I was just on my own in the dining room. Anyway, I only bought it because it was in the sale but it would have been worth the full price. The reader is magic, his voices are amazing, really, he just acts the whole thing. Creepy, menacing, (do not let that put you off, I have a very low menace threshold), hilarious and very clever.
Superb writing skills, complex but fascinating plot, mesmerising characters, great narration.
I was a little unsure when I selected this book as I normally go for thrillers or a bit of action, but I wanted to try something different and it certainly was that. The story is set in a boy's school in Ireland and covers a range of different events and character perspectives.
Some parts are funny (very funny), some sad, some dark. The narration is very good and each of the characters are brought to life extremely well. The writing is superb giving lots of details with a great command of language and nuance.
There are lots of chords with a real life school where religion, puberty, drugs, sex and conflict get mixed together.
The part that disappointed me was the plot, it wasn't very deep and seemed to be a collection of situations and sketches that flowed well, but didn't seem to lead anywhere significant. I can't help feeling that a better plot with with a converged ending would have made it into a great read.
I don't usually bother to review books I've listened to, but I did find this a truly exceptional and thoroughly enjoyable book. It does take a little while to get into, but the characters and different narrative strands are so well drawn that they rapidly draw you in.
To be honest, if I'd been reading it I'm not sure I would have stuck with it, but the narrator is outstanding and makes all the characters come alive. The best book I've listened to for ages, highly recommended.
I'm obviously out of step with the rest of the world. Despite the rave reviews this book has had, I'm third of the way through & I'm giving up. I've really tried to like it but I just can't . I'm bored. The characters are bland and, apart from the first few lines, I'm not finding it funny. Unless you are interested in the workings of the adolescent male mind, or want to hear (again) about the tortures of growing up as a Catholic in Ireland, I wouldn't recommend it. I'm just glad I got it at sale price.
The reading is superb. Crisp and clear, no bad edits and great voice characterisation. 21 hours of consistent quality. The story is great too. Full of humour but ultimately a tragic story of life, the universe and everything. One of my favourite audible buys.
"Perfection. Listened to it twice! *****"
I LOVED this book. The narrator is the best I have heard, completely exceptional in every way, the different voices of all these different boys were all very clearly defined and easy to follow. The changes in pace were perfect... very impressive. The story is complex and yet fast paced, the dialog is brilliant and funny.
This book is basically about a group of boys at a Catholic boarding school. It's in contemporary times, they have iPods and internet porn. There is a messed up teacher, the kind of 'result' that these young boys can expect from life, he is not the hero. The hero is an unlikely character who dies in the first 10 minutes. We then go back in time to see what lead up to that moment and the final part of the book takes you past the moment of Skippy's death.
The language is brilliantly written, the interactions between the boys ring so true and are in turns hilarious and heartbreaking. The adults surrounding these boys are far more deluded and messed up than the boys and that's part of the charm. Yes there is sex, and bad language, and descriptions of porn and violence.
This is not a kids book. But it felt like a very real description of what goes on inside the heads of boys. I am a woman, so I found that fascinating. I must say the writer clearly has an issue with women, all the female characters are pretty unlikeable and mostly one dimensional. I was worried I would not like the book with all this testosterone flying around, but I love love loved it. I miss all the boys, and am still thinking of them...
It really rewards a second listen as you pick up on stuff and connections you missed in the first. If you liked Dead Poets Society the movie, then you will love this, very similar feel. GET IT NOW!
"A mixed bag but worth it"
Patrick Moy is such an outstanding narrator... so much so I was occasionally 'distracted' by his performance. The story is layered and character led and, despite wandering out where the buses don't go, it is a nourishing read with surprises, chuckles and winces. My only issue was it was a story in search of a genre... but perhaps that's what made it interesting. Recommended.
"Excellent narrator for a hilarious and sad story"
Skippy Dies not only is a great story (hilarious and sad at the same time), but was even more enjoyable due to the excellent narration. All the characters, with their different accents, were really brought to life by Patrick Moy.
All the conversations amongst the boys who are in the midst of their puberty. Hilarious!
No I haven't, but sure would like to after this one.
It made me laugh heaps of times, although it was extremely sad at other times.
A great listen. Not only because of the above-mentioned things, but also because of the critical attitude of the author towards traditional catholic boarding schools like this one, without becoming moralistic.
"good family book"
This is a book you could plug in and play on a long road trip for the whole family..
Good story, enjoyable, funny, poignant and entertaining. Suitable for all ages..
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