This is my favorite, favorite book. Murray spins a dazzling web between his rich array of characters, creating a mystery that is funny, weird, and heart-wrenching. Skippy may die in the prologue, but the novel backtracks to show how desperately full of life he was. Every time I revisit this book, I always hope that the act of my reading will save him ... but it never does.
— From Kelly
From the author of THE BEE STING, a New York Times Top 10 Best Books of the Year and shortlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize.
The bestselling and critically acclaimed novel from Paul Murray, Skippy Dies, shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Book Awards, longlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
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 borderline psychotic who is Skippy's rival in love?
Or could "the Automator"—the ruthless, smooth-talking headmaster intent on modernizing the school—have something to hide?
Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the subject of this dazzling and uproarious novel, unraveling a mystery that links the boys of Seabrook College to their parents and teachers in ways nobody could have imagined. With a cast of characters that ranges from hip-hop-loving fourteen-year-old Eoin "MC Sexecutioner" Flynn to basketball playing midget Philip Kilfether, packed with questions and answers on everything from Ritalin, to M-theory, to bungee jumping, to the hidden meaning of the poetry of Robert Frost, Skippy Dies is a heartfelt, hilarious portrait of the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of adolescence, and a tragic depiction of a world always happy to sacrifice its weakest members. As the twenty-first century enters its teenage years, this is a breathtaking novel from a young writer who will come to define his generation.
“Extravagantly entertaining . . . One of the great pleasures of this novel is how confidently [Paul Murray] addresses such disparate topics as quantum physics, video games, early-20th-century mysticism, celebrity infatuation, drug dealing, Irish folklore and pornography.” —Dan Kois, The New York Times Book Review
“Murray's humor and inventiveness never flag. And despite a serious theme--what happens to boys and men when they realize the world isn't the sparkly planetarium they had hoped for--Skippy Dies leaves you feeling hopeful and hungry for life. Just not for doughnuts.” —Entertainment Weekly, Grade: A
“Dazzling . . . If killing your protagonist with more than 600 pages to go sounds audacious, it's nothing compared with the literary feats Murray pulls off in this hilarious, moving and wise book . . . It's the Moby Dick of Irish prep schools . . . Murray is an expansive writer, bouncing around in time, tense and point of view.” —Jess Walter, Washington Post Book World
“He really does die. It's in the opening scene. But as Paul Murray's novel backtracks to explain what brought about his death.” —Radhika Jones, Time magazine
“[Murray] gets away with almost everything, owing to the strength of his remarkable dialogue, which captures the free-associative, sex-obsessed energy of teen-age conversation in all its coarse, riffing brilliance.” —The New Yorker (Briefly Noted)
“This epic page-turner sweeps you along with the heedless gusto of youth.” —People
“Deeply funny, deeply weird and unlike anything you've ever encountered before.” —NPR.org
“The novel is a triumph . . . Brimful of wit, narrative energy and a real poetry and vision.” —Adam Lively, The Sunday Times
“A real joy.” —Marie Claire
“One of the most enjoyable, funny and moving reads of this young new year.” —Patrick Ness, The Guardian
“An utterly engrossing read.” —Elle
“Noisy, hilarious, tragic, and endlessly inventive . . . Murray's writing is just plain brilliant.” —Kate Saunders, The Times
“A blast of a book.” —Kevin Power, The Irish Times
“Darkly funny and wholly enjoyable . . . Murray will never once lose your attention, writing with wit and charm and making this tragicomedy both hilarious and effortlessly moving.” —Very Short List
“A total knockout.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A refreshing break from the simple, bloglike prose of more popular novels . . . A most entertaining book from an excellent writer.” —Dallas Morning News
“A great, early fall read . . . Bursting with plot and characters.” —San Antonio Express-News
“When I tell you there's a scene towards the end of Paul Murray's Skippy Dies, where I was struggling to maintain my composure while reading on the New York subway, I hope you'll understand just how powerful this novel is. And the fantastic thing is: Just a few hundred pages earlier, I was fighting off a major case of the giggles on an airplane because there's another scene in this book that is hysterically funny, that takes its joke and just keeps turning the dial a little bit further until . . . well, until I was about to explode anyway.” —Ron Hogan, Beatrice.com
“A triumph.” —Bookforum online
“This novel is going straight to the top of my best books of 2010 list.” —Baby Got Books