Monday, February 14, 2011

Skippy Dies

by Paul Murray

The jacket copy says something really pompous about this guy being the literary voice of his generation (he was born in 1975), but I remembered that I read a long time ago his other book, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, which I thoroughly enjoyed but wouldn't credit with much literary value. Which begs the question of how a guy with only two books, one of which is fluff, can be given such an exalted position? Maybe it's tongue in cheek, which would be in keeping with his wry sense of humor.

The book clocks in at 600 pages or so, but it's not as tall as the standard hardcover, and it also reads quickly. Despite it's smooth breeziness, however, the story does entail interesting moral dilemmas and insights about human nature, and manages to be sophisticatedly ambiguous enough to keep the reader thinking and guessing. And it's got some damn funny bits too.

So what's the book about? Teenagers in love and lust, adults in love and lust, drugs good bad and questionable, commitment and infatuation, self-knowledge and the possibility of ever really "growing up", time travel in the multiverse, video games and hallucinations, set in an Irish boarding school with priests. It has two protagonists, I guess, one a student and one a teacher not quite at middle-age. It's kind of sad in the end, with that hollow feeling that comes with the realization that there are no easy answers.

No comments: