The Pequod Review:
Set in a Dublin boarding school and told from multiple perspectives, Skippy Dies is a very funny book that combines elements of satire, self-help, tragedy, and science fiction as it explores the life and death (from a tragic donut-eating contest) of its title character. Paul Murray is one of the most quotable of writers:
The tang of adolescence, impervious to deodorant or opened windows, hangs heavy, and the air tintinnabulates with bleeps, chimes and trebly shards of music as two hundred mobile phones, banned during the school day, are switched back on with the urgency of divers reconnecting to their oxygen supply.
You know, you spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that at some point in the future everything you see will one day happen to you: that you too will win a Formula One race, hop a train, foil a group of terrorists, tell someone 'Give me the gun', etc. Then you start secondary school, and suddenly everyone's asking you about your career plans and your long-term goals, and by goals they don't mean the kind you are planning to score in the FA Cup. Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg - that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you'd imagined,that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor-tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of 'life'.
To hear people talk, you would think no one ever did anything but love each other. But when you look for it, when you search out this love everyone is always talking about, it is nowhere to be found; and when someone looks for love from you, you find you are not able to give it, you are not able to hold the trust and dreams they want you to hold, any more than you could cradle water in your arms.