This touching and uproarious novel by author Paul Murray made everyone’s best fiction of 2010 lists, including The Washington Post, Financial Times, Village Voice, and others. Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the mystery that links the boys of Dublin’s Seabrook College (Ruprecht Van Doren, the overweight genius obsessed with string theory; Carl, the teenager drug dealer and borderline psychotic; Philip Kilfether, the basketball-playing midget) to their parents and teachers in ways that no one could have imagined.
This unique production of Murray’s heartfelt exploration of the pain, joy, and beauty of adolescence features an all-star narrating cast of 16 Audible favorites: John Keating, Graeme Malcom, Khristine Hvam, Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, Terry Donnelly, Sean Gormley, Lawrence Lowry, Paul Nugent, Tim Smallwood, Fiona Walsh, Fiana Toibin, Declan Sammon, Heather O'Neill, and Ed Malone.
©2010 Paul Murray (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Hilarious, haunting, and heartbreaking, it is inarguably among the most memorable novels of the year to date." (Booklist)
"Dazzling... If killing your protagonist with more than 600 pages to go sounds audacious, it's nothing compared with the literary feats Murray pulls off in this hilarious, moving and wise book." (Washington Post Book World)
"Extravagantly entertaining." (The New York Times Book Review)
Really dark comedy
The narrator(s) were FANTASTIC! They really made the story come to life.
Getting to hear all the different voices narrating the different characters really brought the story to life. If I were to just read the story, I would have never used any of the accent.
Skippy. It was really gripping to hear how badly he wanted to be accepted and wanted to be noticed.
Wonderful listen. The narrators really brought the story to life.
Some complained about the length of the book, but for me that feeling only lasted through part I, which I felt dragged a bit. The performances added much to the experience of the novel, given that the various accents (Irish old men, Mario, Miss MacIntyre, etc) were well done and enriched the text. Actually, Mario's narrator made him into a rather Fez-like character from That 70s Show, which wasn't a bad thing.
Negatives: Because of the way the author played with sequence, I didn't find myself unfulfilled by certain glitches in the plot until the end, when I was sure they would never be resolved. SPOILER ALERT (skip the rest of this paragraph if you like): I had a hard time with the following: Where did Skippy get so many of the sedatives? Wouldn't the police have traced that? Did he OD on purpose or not? The police would surely have been more involved in the story behind his death. Also, the very last portion of the book containing the redemption moments fell flat for me; Lori becomes a real person and convinces Ruprecht to live on and be fulfilled? She's going to "help" him? Carl is redeemed somewhat by trying to allow himself to die as pennance? No, really, he's just schizophrenic, right? And finally, Howard is redeemed in the eyes of the school -- no longer a coward -- for running into a burning building to save Carl? Hmm. Don't think so. Still, the lack of real closure on some of these characters didn't hurt the integrity of the novel any more than such failures ever do... I find many of my favorite books a little unsatisfying to me at the end. END SPOILER
Good things: Some real comedy intertwined in the horrors (Greg the Automater, in particular). Excellent portrayals of the crazy world of young boys (and girls) and how they torture and love each other. Satisfying emotional content, and some historical learning material, too. I have no reference point for parochial schools and the sexual frustration borne out of single-gendered environments, but I think it was painted well here. I also think the handling of the characters who considered or perpetrated sexual abuse was nuanced and interesting. In fact, the real villains here were not the those men at all, as it turned out...
The whole cast of characters are excellent. I could picture them all.
Dennis & Mario crack me up. There are so many... there is no way to point out just one.
The characters are well developed by the author.... So many scenes, so little time. What can I say?
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wince... and you won't want it to end.
The only reason I thought about listening to this book is because I recently had a dog name Skippy who I had to put down. I thought it was about a dog... but read a review and became intrigued. I am so glad I did. This is one of the best books I've ever listened to. Thank you Paul Murray. I want more.
I love a book with creative, but not treacle or predictible, prose -- and Skippy Dies delivers in droves. Just a joy to listen to.
As other commenters have noted, you don't need to be, or have been, a teenage boy in Ireland to feel simpatico with the characters. They drew you in, though ironically, Skippy was amongst the last fleshed out.
Multiple narrators; worked really well.
Definitely laughed. Killing off the main character in the beginning pages (not to mention the title page) undercuts the crying option. One of the best novels I've listened to in a long time.
I pretty much listen to all my books (not much left eye-wise once work is done), but this book is clearly better due to the narration -- love those Irish accents.
This tale of Irish boarding school and midlife crises suffers a crisis of its own. Like the students and teachers, it meanders, touches on flashes of interest of brilliance but is mired mostly in the 20 something character cast and the multiple mini dramas surrounding this cast. Skippy, the main character to the untrained eye, is actually not particularly fleshed out, nor is his death well explained. I found parts two and three to be more engaging (the first few hours were about as dull as school as) but it is overall not a cant stop listening book. The voice actors did their very best with fairly trite material, and the multiple actors really saved this one from being completely impossible to follow.
Lover of history, travel, and MP3 players (to distract me from things I'd really rather not have to do)!
I admit, I was one listener who almost gave up at the beginning. The drug dealing scenes were so unpleasant to me - a high school teacher living in denial about how teens really live and think ;-) - that I was wondering what could come up that would make it worth my time to continue.
But once we were really introduced to Skippy and his pals, I had my answer: the characterizations. I don't mean the narrations - which were fine though not remarkable in my mind - but the characters the author developed, both kids and adults. Murray's subtlety, his way of dropping crumbs of detail along with the big chunks of action and dialog, is what builds the bonds between reader and character, to the point that we even care about the ones we are repulsed by. The story itself was good, but in the end it was just a vehicle for introducing us to a world of people and perspectives that I, for one, would never otherwise experience.
Funny and quirky, this story engages from the very beginnig.
The cast of narrators all were excellent.
The author did a great job capturing the pathos of adolescence as well as the older characters.
This book is not easy. It's a long story that starts at the end and slowly unfolds the events that have caused the characters actions or lack of action. Through this, we come to understand the characters and why they do and respond in the way that they do. Many of the topics that are addressed are straight out of the current news. I found that I looked at the stories differently after this book. Not many books can do that.
This book is long, 3 sections. I did not like this book in the first section. I thought it was shallow. I stuck with it and by the end thought it was the greatest novel of the last 10 years. Some of the characters are disturbing, some annoying and some pitiful. By the end I could see why they ended up that way. It shows how past events can send out ripples that effect the future. This book will stay with me.
I would have preferred not to delved into the lives of 14 year old boys with such detail. As a mother of soon to be 14 year old's I found it WAY to much info and not a mystery at all which is what I actually thought the book was. It is beautifully written but I am not the intended audience.
Nope, while his story was worth reading it's not the right genre for me and I have no idea how I ended up purchasing this book (again a really well written story) but totally not my genre.
I thought the end of the book was great and well thought out but the entire book is well thought out.
nope, I think they cover it all. some of the character could be books in and of themselves like Ruprect who I found interesting but not a sequel more of another stand alone book like Enders Shadow.
This book is a slow start. At first it seems to be all about adolescent angst and boring, incompetent adults. Don't give up. It takes a while for the story line and characters to develop, but once it does the book is compelling, funny, thought provoking and entertaining. Murray deals brilliantly with the theme of obstacles to meaningful human communication. Again and again his characters fail to understand one another, trapped by their separate perceptions of the world and false assumptions about others.But they keep trying and the moments when they do connect are wonderful. It is also a book about the role of friendship, the value of history vs. the march to the future, and the important part stories play in bridging the gaps between human beings. And, oh yes, the nature and origin of the universe. As other reviewers have noted, the audio version is particularly wonderful, an excellent full-cast performance. It is well worth listening to the end.
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