I have the good fortune to have maintained my literary contacts at Boston College, something that often leads me to books I would have missed otherwise. Such is the case with Skippy Dies, a near-perfect and heartrendingly poignant book by Irish author Paul Murray.I started this book the morning after meeting the author himself. He came to BC to give a reading from his new book, The Mark and the Void, and stayed to attend my favorite book group- Raidin the Wake. I might have mentioned it before but it deserves more than a mention. We read Finnegans Wake once a week, slogging through a few lovely pages and trying to glean some meaning from the possibly indecipherable pages. Paul Murray joined us for a session and drank with us at the pub afterward. But more to the point, Skippy Dies is a fantastic novel. It is about the death of the main character, something the reader is well aware is going to happen even before he or she reads a single page. The novel chronicles the adventures in love, loss, speed, bungee jumping, World War I, school administration, and more of Skippy, Ruprecht, and Lori, exploring what happens to a whole community when one person dies tragically. It is also really funny, in case that wasn’t coming through.
His new novel just came out and should be arriving at my door by Friday- so look forward to a glowing review of that as well. Check this one out. Not only will it give you hipster Irish-lit cred, it will also give you the feels.