Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Skios

From Skios, by Michael Frayn
Open quote 

Please God it wasn't going to be too awful this year, prayed Nikki. All lectures, however unique and special, were of course awful, but some were more awful than others. There had to be a lecture. Why? Because there always had been one. There had been a Fred Toppler Lecture every year since the foundation had existed. They had had lectures on the Crisis in this and the Challenge of that. They had had an Enigma of, a Whither? and a Why?, three Prospects and two Reconsiderations of."

After the jump, my review.

Grade: C+

Thankfully for Nikki, or perhaps to her embarrassment, this year's lecture wasn't going to be awful. It threatened to be much, much worse, thanks to the cases of mistaken identity and the highly implausible coincidences and the farce that unfolds.

This novel reads more like a screenplay for a classic movie comedy starring someone like Peter Sellers. You know the kind: Mix-up at the airport leads to the distinguished lecturer finding himself in bed with a beautiful stranger while her playboy boyfriend faces the prospect of bluffing his way through an academic lecture. Hijinks ensue.

Short. Easy reading. Amusing sit-com. Standard stuff. And that's about all that's needed to dismiss this novel. Still, there's the satiric skewering of stuffy academics. If there's anything that might stay with the reader beyond the last page, maybe it's that.

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