In the first section of Skippy Dies, Howard, a 28-year old teacher, plays with a new-fangled movie camera his girlfriend Halley has been given to review. The tiny camera comes equipped with "real-time image augmentation, meaning that your movies can be even more vivid than they are in real life." When Howard points the machine at Halley, he sees a rosy, saturated version of her. On screen, she seems more finely veined, more sympathetic, more desirable, more subtle. The "Intelligent Eye" technology in the movie camera is a fitting metaphor for Paul Murray's project in Skippy Dies - he points his lens at the hormone-addled field of a Catholic boys' school in Dublin, and what we see is a hyper-real landscape full of beautiful, loud color. The central characters in the novel are fourteen year-old boys - feral, foul-mouthed, steeped in confusion - and yet they come across on the page as ...
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