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Skippy Dies

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  12,925 ratings  ·  1,844 reviews
Why does Skippy, a fourteen-year-old boy at Dublin's venerable Seabrook College, end up dead on the floor of the local doughnut shop?
Could it have something to do with his friend Ruprecht Van Doren, an overweight genius who is determined to open a portal into a parallel universe using ten-dimensional string theory?
Could it involve Carl, the teenage drug dealer and border
...more
Paperback, Three volume box set, 661 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Hamish Hamilton
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Popular Answered Questions

Karla Oceanak I'd say no. It's a brilliant, funny, dark, and challenging novel for mature readers, but as a mom of teenage boys, I'd definitely call it NC-17.
Room by Emma DonoghueThe Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David MitchellSkippy Dies by Paul MurrayLittle Hands Clapping by Dan RhodesStarted Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
Not the Booker Prize 2010
3rd out of 86 books — 158 voters
Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsSpirit Bound by Richelle MeadClockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareLast Sacrifice by Richelle MeadLinger by Maggie Stiefvater
Best Books of 2010
130th out of 1,213 books — 2,325 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David
I'm the product of an Irish Catholic boarding school for boys. In September 1968, at the tender age of 11, I left the warm (over-)protective bosom of home and family -- not just one, but two grandmothers, and a housekeeper to fuss over me while my mother saw patients -- and became one of the 80 or so boys in the first year class at a Franciscan boarding school, about 25 miles north of Dublin, and 160 miles from home. The experience, particularly the first year, was incredibly brutal*. But it wa ...more
Will Byrnes
Skippy Dies is a work of genius. Where else could you combine a coming-of-age tale with string theory, ancient Celtic mythology with fart humor, consideration of cultural forgetfulness with Druid drug dealers (say that five times fast), a look at adulthood as a continuation of adolescence with better tools but less hope, substance abuse of sundry sorts, from doughnuts to diet pills, from weed to heroin and cocaine, from sexual predation to the hormonal cravings of early adolescence to self-cutti ...more
karen

skippy dies on the first page of this book.
then there are 600 pages of buildup and aftermath.

it has been compared to Infinite Jest,which i can see, but i also feel it is a good companion-piece to The Instructions. all three of these books (IJ only in part) focus on adolescents who are in school/boarding school environments that use genuinely funny (as opposed to manipulative-funny) humor to offset the horrors of youth and its incipient discoveries. they all have elements of the absurd, of the ne
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Joel
What to say, what to say. I really enjoyed this book, and I never really feel like writing reviews of my favorites, probably because it's easier to be snarky while taking the piss (oh British). Writing about something that I found intellectually stimulating, or that made me laugh, or moved me (or all three, which this one did) requires me to be genuine and thoughtful in a way making fun of Stephanie Meyer never will. But this is definitely one of my top new release reads of the year, probably a ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Succinctly, Skippy Dies is giddy nitrous laughter, childish wonderment, adolescent awkwardness, and the disappointment and disenchantment of adulthood wrapped up in a hard cover. This book made me laugh and sigh and occasionally hate the big, mean world before conceding that there is still much within it to pine for. And that is the whole point of most coming-of-age tales, right? It has all the proper ingredients, leading it to feel a little too capital-c Cute here and there, but all in all this ...more
Mike Puma

This is a very, very funny book. At times, it’s relentlessly funny. But then, …

‘Hmm, maybe you should have asked one of the nuns,’ Dennis remarks contemplatively. ‘Did you ask them, Ruprecht? Did you ask the nuns to show you their mound?’

I will suggest to you that, questions of aesthetics and all things literary aside, that it is, in fact, impossible for most male readers, straight or not straight, to avoid being caught up by the frequently juvenile boy-humor that runs rampant throughout Skippy

...more
Paul
Sep 24, 2011 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody
Q: Oh, what's this? I don't quite understand. As I recall you said a few derogatory things about Skippy Dies when you were on p 120 and even by p 250 you weren't dancing in the streets and giving out free copies, and yet, here we see five fat stars sitting there, I counted them, and as I understand it that's the maximum number you can award, so what accounts for this seeming change of heart and are you a little ashamed of your original remarks? Would you wish to do a little public recanting?

A :
...more
Laura
Things I learned from Skippy Dies:

"The Road Less Traveled" by Robert Frost is actually about anal sex. (Now please don't all leave me outraged comments and personal messages asking me how I can be so disgusting and impugn Frost's memory. I didn't make it up -- it's actually in the book. Ok, I did choose to mention it, but seriously, how you can review this book without mentioning it, I don't know.)

But there's a lot more to Skippy Dies, which was long-listed for the Man Booker. Paul Murray is pre
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Kemper
Talk about truth in advertising….

As promised in the title, Skippy dies. In fact, he dies in the first few pages when he falls off his stool in a doughnut shop. Who was this kid and what happened? Well, that’s what the rest of the book is for.

Skippy was Daniel Juster, a shy and nerdy boy at a Catholic boy’s school in Ireland. In the time before his death, we meet a variety of characters that are unknowingly part of the chain of events that lead to his untimely demise. There’s Skippy’s roommate, a
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Jenn(ifer)

‘How telling it is,’ he says in his sermon, shaking his illustrious golden-locked head, ‘that Daniel’s short life should come to its end in a restaurant devoted to doughnuts. For in some ways, is our modern way of life not comparable to one of these doughnuts? “Junk food” that satisfies only temporarily, that offers a “quick fix”, but has, at the center of it, a hole?’

Doughnuts, alcohol, drugs, sex, tv, video games, exercise, goodreads --you name it -- we as a society have used it to try to fill
...more
Greg
First, whoever wrote the jacket copy for this book deserves to be given a few punches to the head. For the life of me I can't even remember there being a midget basketball player (oh wait, now I can, but the very brief paragraph or two that he appears in the book is unessential), and the white rapper character is just a piece of comic relief. Other reviews do a good job of lambasting the jacket blurbs.

Second, I've read about half of the Harry Potter books, and I don't see the comparison between
...more
Megha

Skippy, buddy, I am sorry. I wanted to hear out your story, but some of these people around you tried my patience too far.

From the moment I started reading Skippy Dies, I couldn't stop thinking that I could be reading something better instead. More than 150 pages later, I was still thinking the same. I decided I didn't want to continue reading about a couple of teenagers (except Skippy and Ruprecht) being kind of d*cks and the dismal life of one uninteresting adult.

Skippy Dies is not bad. I so w
...more
Stephen M
Oct 06, 2011 Stephen M rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: self-deprecating string-theorists
Recommended to Stephen M by: Goodreads and the world at large
This book is a bit long. There are certainly good reasons for it but I do have Murray to blame for staying up all night to finish the last 200 pages of this book. Which, without a doubt, are enthralling. The length does several things (a comment that I'm sure the characters of the book would make a crass joke out of), but the most important is the slow roll of character development. As many others have pointed out, the book begins on pretty familiar territory. There are handfuls of coming-of-age ...more
B0nnie

Skippy Dies is an eager-to-please puppy.

Now let me just say, I'm very sympathetic to the problems of an author: avoid cliches, show, don't tell, consistent characters that grow, realistic dialogue, active voice. Semicolons? Adjectives? and so on. I pat Skippy on its head and say good boy, you’re really trying.

And yet.

Little Skippy, I like you well enough - but you do get on my nerves.

Let’s be clear: Skippy is not a dog. I mean that in every sense. It’s pretty much a good story, though somewhat
...more
Trish
“…a string vibrating at one frequency will give you a quark, say, and a string vibrating at another frequency will give you a photon…Nature is made of all the musical notes that are played on this superstring, so the universe is like a kind of symphony.” (Ruprecht, p. 152)

It’s been years since this book came out. It made such a big splash on its debut I feared it may be popular fiction of a type that doesn’t interest me. I waited a little, had a peek, retreated. A big book in the vernacular of
...more
mary
I am somewhat reluctantly abandoning this book. I feel a bit guilty about it, because I am not without curiosity about how all this meandering prose will resolve itself into a single theme. Or maybe it won't.

But my guilt only carries me so far. Most of the blame here must be assumed by Mr. Murray. The narration is tedious and gloomy. The characters are bleakly hopeless. There are occasional references to things like cell phones, string thory, and computers, but I frequently felt the author had r
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oriana
Bought this today as an "OMG congratulations on being 31 and finally getting a real job" reward. It better be worth it; even at the Strand it was $14. Real job does not equal real money on the first day, turns out.

**

Holy balls this book is so good. I put it #1 on my CCLaP best-of-2011! Here's what I said about it there:

This is a straight-up, no nonsense, trickery-free whirl of a novel. It takes place in an Irish boys' school, following a whole group of tween boys, as well as many of their teache
...more
Steve
The juggler walks on stage to polite applause. He hasn’t won us over yet, but he seems confident that he will. Somewhat surprisingly, he announces what the dramatic highpoint of his act will be before even starting. (view spoiler) Like all jugglers, he has his clichéd elements: rings, knives, a little fire maybe. (vi ...more
MJ Nicholls
I find growing up such a strain, partly since I’ve hit my middle twenties and I can’t seem to get on with it. All the routines of life—unemployment, infidelity, alcoholism—I look upon with wry amusement, as mere targets for my satiric inner child to mock from my ivory tower. This novel paints a cynically accurate portrait of teenagehood (at least among rich Catholic kids) as texting thugs driven by spite, sex and sleeping pills. And the adults too are misguided souls, aimlessly searching for an ...more
Krok Zero
Damn good, despite obstacles: a little overfamiliar in its coming-of-age business, a little irritating in its perspectival caprices. But the book is consistently smart and enjoyable over its 600+ pages; better yet, it's a nimble shapeshifter, fluctuating between comedy and tragedy, levity and profundity, without weakening either tonal pole or making too much mess. Murray manages to go deep and go sad without sacrificing the book's breezy, buoyant momentum. Not an easy trick to pull off, and he d ...more
Aloha
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cP26n...

Christmas Canon (after Pachelbel’s Canon)
-Trans-Siberian Orchestra

“Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.”
-Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher (1813 - 1855)

“Maybe instead of strings it’s stories things are made of, an infinite number of tiny vibrating stories; once upon a time they all were part of one big giant superstory, except it got broken up into a jillion different pieces, that’s why no story on its own makes any sen
...more
Maciek
I discovered Skippy dies through Goodreads and it immediately caught my attention. I love novels dealing with perilous youth and growing up, novels dealing with school and academic life; when I learned that Skippy Dies follows the lives and adventures of a group of teenagers in an Irish boarding school, I was sold. Judging by ratings and reviews I even though that Skippy might enter the great canon of boarding school literature. School stories are a very British thing - they really kicked off af ...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: one bazillionth of one star out of five (p19)

Oh dear GAWD please please please send plagues of boils and masses of ingrown back hairs and painful rectal itch upon the next writer, editor, and publisher to think the adolescent Irish boys are worthy of ANY MORE ATTENTION!!

Enough already, no more, basta, and just F*CKING STOP IT!

Creative Commons License
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Chance Maree
I hadn't expected to like Skippy Dies. Literary novels haven't attracted my interest for some time now---since, say, The Unbearable Lightness of Being and several works by Cormac McCarthy, all read and loved a long time ago. Frankly, many literary tomes can seem tedious or pompous or both. I relish strange new worlds with unfamiliar landscapes such as those written by China Miéville and more recently, the mind-blowing The Quantum Thief.

That said, how in the world did Paul Murray pull me into Sea
...more
Mark
What do you say about a guy who can kill off his main character in the first two pages, then proceed to lead you by the nose through some six hundred pages more, pages in which you feel your heart palpitate, your fingers clinch, your scalp tighten, your teeth grind, your legs tremble?

description


Can you hear me strumming
On the strings of your heart?


Have you ever wanted to sit down right after finishing a good book and with a handheld loudspeaker as big as the earth sing into the cosmos just how good it
...more
Blair
It’s not you, Skippy Dies, it’s me.

I’d heard nothing but praise for this book before I started it. Almost all of my Goodreads friends who’ve reviewed it have given it five stars. Nearly all of the top-rated reviews on Goodreads give it five stars. It was nominated for various awards, including the Booker (well, it was longlisted at least). Apparently, it’s one of Donna Tartt’s favourite books. So you can imagine that I had high hopes for this one, and started it with absolute optimism that it wa
...more
Christopher
Mother loves Ruprecht. Lori loves Skippy. God loves everybody. 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.

Love is tough. Death is tough. Adolesc
...more
Baz
I don't understand how this novel was so well received. I'm still reading it but struggling. It's taking forever but I have to finish a novel once I've made the decision to invest in it, and I will get through this one. The thing with me is that I like most novels I choose to read. It usually goes that I love some, take much pleasure in others and can find some aspect to appreciate or enjoy in the rest. So it's weird of me to not like this one at all. Weirder still is the fact that I want to lik ...more
Noce
Skippy muore, la letteratura no.



Quando Skippy è morto, io ero ancora in libreria. Perché Skippy, per chi come me ha l’edizione Isbn, muore già in copertina. C’è scritto tutto. Dove, come, quando è successo, e c’è anche una sua foto. Quasi un necrologio da vetrina.

Mi è stato inevitabile ripensare alle Vergini suicide di Eugenides, a quell’uso competente dell’ossimoro letterario, per cui ti ritrovi a leggere una storia partendo dalla fine cronologica di tutto. Ma qualcosa non tornava già dal tit
...more
Adam Floridia
I didn’t like the cover. I didn’t like the teaser/blurb on the inside of the cover. I just didn’t trust Amazon’s recommendation on this one.

Those are my excuses for not reading this earlier. It's an amazing four stars. But in all fairness, I still don’t like the cover and the blurb is just god-awful! (Why on earth does it mention a tertiary character, at best, and a nearly non-existent character and leave out the awesome cast of main characters?!) And another thing—best to get all cursory compla
...more
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BookaDuu: Skippy Dies 8 13 Apr 03, 2014 04:55PM  
  • Next
  • Kapitoil
  • The Stars in the Bright Sky
  • The Instructions
  • C
  • Model Home
  • The Lonely Polygamist
  • Bad Marie
  • The Betrayal
  • In a Strange Room
  • The Ask
  • Parrot and Olivier in America
  • The Spinning Heart
  • Lord of Misrule
  • A Moment in the Sun
  • The Teleportation Accident
  • Darkmans (Thames Gateway, #3)
  • On Canaan's Side
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Paul Murray is an Irish novelist. He studied English literature at Trinity College, Dublin and has written two novels: An Evening of Long Goodbyes (shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2003, and nominated for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award) and Skippy Dies (longlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize and the 2010 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic fiction).
More about Paul Murray...
An Evening of Long Goodbyes Zimbabwe, 2nd Long Story Short The Hail Mary The Mark and the Void

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“Life makes fools of all of us sooner or later. But keep your sense of humor and you'll at least be able to take your humiliations with some measure of grace. In the end, you know, its our own expectations that crush us.” 101 likes
“History, in the end, is only another kind of story, and stories are different from the truth. The truth is messy and chaotic and all over the place. Often it just doesn’t make sense. Stories make things make sense, but the way they do that is to leave out anything that doesn’t fit. And often that is quite a lot.” 39 likes
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