Firstly, apologies for the late post and for the fact that it’ll be a short one too. I have been laid up all weekend with tonsillitis and am unfortunately still ill. My throat is still big, my dreams are more like nightmares due to my temperature, and I have rechristened my breakfast cereal “Raisin Blades”.
The only upside to all this is that I have had ample reading time in bed. I had been feeling ill last week and so on Friday evening I took myself into Hodges Figgis to buy a new book to read over the weekend. I was delighted to find that a book that I had been anticipating for years has finally been published; Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. I read An Evening of Long Goodbyes by Murray a number of years ago when it first came out and it is one of my favourite Irish books of recent years.
Although Irish people are renowned the world over for their sense of humour, it isn’t often that an Irish writer attempts comedy. Generally our scribes are known for the more serious stuff, unless of course you count Ross O’Carroll Kelly, which I most firmly do not. An Evening of Long Goodbyes was not only very funny, but also one of the most accomplished first novels I’ve read in a long time. It tells the story of Charles Hythloday, his eccentric family, his search for sprezzatura in an increasingly materialistic Dublin society and his madcap ideas to save his family home and earn a living.
I have been waiting for Murray’s second book for seven years now, and so far Skippy Dies has completely lived up to the stupendous amounts of hype and anticipation I had piled upon it during that time. I’m about half way through it, and with the way my tonsils are feeling I’m sure I’ll have it finished in the next couple of days. Highly recommended.