Skippy Dies is set within the claustrophobic atmosphere of a boys’ Catholic school which has day and boarding pupils alike. Ruprecht Van Doren, an overweight genius whose hobbies include very difficult maths and the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence is the room-mate of the Skippy of the title, Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster (not a kangaroo). Nobody pays either of them much attention. But when Skippy falls for Lori, the frisbee-playing Siren from the girls’ school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest – including Carl, part-time drug-dealer and official school psychopath. The book is a tragic comedy of epic proportions, but it deals with some tough subjects too scouring the corners of the human heart and wringing every drop of pathos, humour and hopelessness out of life, love, Robert Graves, mermaids, M-theory, and everything in between.
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