Cody's Reviews > Skippy Dies

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
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's review
Oct 26, 2010

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bookshelves: the-irish-question
Read in November, 2010

An engaging novel that will appeal to a range of readers thanks to Paul Murray’s vast array of skills. The plot is engrossing, the characters are unique and layered (Murray’s talent for dialog may be his greatest trait), the themes are insightful (his employment of M-Theory and the myth of the White Goddess throughout the novel are particularly effective), and the prose is, at times, completely stunning. The novel was stretched thin in places (I grew somewhat restless in the middle as some of weaker characters took center stage), and there were definitely times—subject matter aside—that it descended a bit too far into juvenilia (I hate to say it, but there were points where I couldn’t help but feel that I was reading the uncensored version of a Harry Potter tale).

But the quality of the novel as a whole—the result of Murray’s passion, skill, and ambition—more than make up for these weaker bits. Perhaps, most impressive, to me, is Murray’s ability to balance uproarious wit (I laughed aloud many, many times) with utter sadness, especially since he does this in new and unique ways. In other words, Murray's staked his claim and proven that he's up to the task of taking on the Irish novel. Skippy Dies has certainly left its mark, and I'll be eager to see what Murray's got in store for us in the future.

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