Friday, August 27, 2010

Skippy Dies.

by Paul Murray.
longlisted for the Booker Prize.

It better win.

I am being pulled inexorably through this story of a Catholic boys' school (with all of the wonderful narrative potential that that implies). It is the most thoroughly modern piece of storytelling that I have encountered. This Murray guy has boys pegged, girls pegged, their teachers pegged, their moms and dads pegged, and he has their drugs and their sex pegged, their curiosity and their stifling boredom pegged, and beyond those things, those things that he has control over, he has me nailed to the wall with the most compulsively enjoyable yet chilling book I have read since...I can't remember one like this.

It's the best fictional study of the modern teenager you will read. I want to read it again and I'm not even halfway through. I'm reading these pages, and as a father I find myself hoping that my boy will be something like this character, that my daughter will find her way to not becoming like that one, and that both of them will either avoid or be strong enough to stand up to that one.
And I am thankful I don't have to go through it again, but at the same time I would give anything to go through the chapter I just read.
His first kiss.
Paul Murray is faithful to each and every character in his story. When a writer achieves this level of imagination, compassion, and focus...this book needs to be read.
It's coming into the store soon.

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