Excerpt from Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Skippy Dies

A Novel

By Paul Murray

Skippy Dies
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Aug 2010,
    672 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2011,
    672 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


TELL LORI

The overweight St Brigid’s girl in the booth turns pale and whispers something in the ear of her companion. Skippy blinks up at Ruprecht imploringly. Clearing his throat, adjusting his glasses, Ruprecht examines the message crystallizing on the tiles.

‘Tell Lori?’ he says.

Skippy rolls his eyes and croaks.

‘Tell her what?’

Skippy gasps.

‘I don’t know!’ Ruprecht gabbles, ‘I don’t know, I’m sorry!’ He bends down to squint again at the mysterious pink letters.

‘Tell her he loves her!’ the overweight or possibly even pregnant girl in the St Brigid’s uniform exclaims. ‘Tell Lori he loves her! Oh my God!’

‘Tell Lori you love her?’ Ruprecht repeats dubiously. ‘Is that it?’ Skippy exhales – he smiles. Then he lies back on the tiles; and Ruprecht sees quite clearly the rise and fall of his breast gently come to a stop.

‘Hey!’ Ruprecht grabs him and shakes him by the shoulders.

‘Hey, what are you doing?’

Skippy does not reply.

For a moment there is a cold, stark silence; then, almost as if from a united desire to fill it, the diner explodes in a clamour. Air! is the consensus. Give him air! The door is thrown open and the cold November night rushes greedily in. Ruprecht finds himself standing, looking down at his friend. ‘Breathe!’ he shouts at him, gesticulating meaninglessly like an angry teacher. ‘Why won’t you breathe?’ But Skippy just lies there with a reposeful look on his face, placid as can be.

Around them the air jostles with shouts and suggestions, things people remember from hospital shows on TV. Ruprecht can’t take this. He pushes through the bodies and out the door down to the roadside. Biting his thumb, he watches the traffic fleet by in dark, impersonal blurs, refusing to disclose an ambulance.

When he goes back inside, Zhang Xielin is kneeling, cradling Skippy’s head on his lap. Doughnuts scatter the ground like little candied wreaths. In the silence, people peek at Ruprecht with moist, pitying eyes. Ruprecht glares back at them murderously. He is fizzing, he is quaking, he is incandescent with rage. He feels like stomping back to his room and leaving Skippy where he is. He feels like screaming out, ‘What? What? What? What?’ He goes back outside to look into the traffic, he is crying, and in that moment he feels all the hundreds and thousands of facts in his head turn to sludge.

Through the laurel trees, in an upper corner of Seabrook Tower, you can just make out the window of their dorm, where not half an hour ago Skippy challenged Ruprecht to the race. Above the lot, the great pink hoop of the Ed’s Doughnut House sign broadcasts its frigid synthetic light into the night, a neon zero that outshines the moon and all the constellations of infinite space beyond it. Ruprecht is not looking in that direction. The universe at this moment appears to him as something horrific, thin and threadbare and empty; it seems to know this, and in shame to turn away.

Excerpted from Skipp Dies: A Novel by Paul Murray, published August 2010 by Faber and Faber, Inc., and affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2010 by Paul Murray. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.