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Skios Hardcover – 3 May 2012

3.2 out of 5 stars 319 customer reviews

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A Horse Walks Into a Bar has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Learn more
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571281419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571281411
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (319 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 353,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'So brilliantly funny that tears of laughter make the print swim in front of your eyes ... A tour de force.' --The Sunday Times

'The pieces of this intricate farce click into place with all the assurance you'd expect from the author of Noises Off ... The denoument is pitch-perfect. Guaranteed to make many an appearance on holiday-reading lists this summer.' --Daily Mail

'Michael Frayn's brilliantly plotted Skios, set in and around a plausibly farcical cultural centre in Greece, is laugh-aloud funny, as fine as anything his mentor Wodehouse ever wrote.' --Philip French, The Observer Books of the Year

'The flair for farce that gave Frayn's play Noises Off such comic brio is here uproariously let loose across the pages of a novel ... A bravura feat of nimbly plotted mishaps and misunderstandings.' --Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times Books of the Year

'Hilarious ... This is perfect holiday reading.' --Spectator

'The pieces of this intricate farce click into place with all the assurance you'd expect from the author of Noises Off ... The denoument is pitch-perfect. Guaranteed to make many an appearance on holiday-reading lists this summer.' --Daily Mail

'Hilarious ... This is perfect holiday reading.' --Spectator

Book Description

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Skios, Michael Frayn's most recent novel, is a story of mislaid identity, misdirected passion and miscalculated consequences.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Michael Frayn has said that Skios was a literary experiment to see if a farce could be written as a novel. The premise is that Dr Norman Wilfred, a distinguished academic, is to give a lecture on 'scientometrics' at a research foundation on a Greek island. When Dr Wilfred arrives at the venue, he turns out to be suspiciously young and charming. The explanation is that he is not Dr Wilfred, but Oliver Fox, a floppy-haired Hugh Grant-type character, who decided to impersonate Dr Wilfred after seeing Nikki Hook, the attractive administrator who came to meet the visiting speaker at the airport.

Apart from mistaken identity, many other familiar devices of the genre are present: lost clothing, thwarted romantic designs, preparations for a public event which is bound to go awry. It is all firmly in the Wodehouse tradition.

Skios is elegantly written and, particularly in the first half, pretty funny. Frayn is good on the fatuousness of so many lectures of this type (well captured by the title of Dr Wilfred's talk: 'Innovation and Governance: The Promise of Scientometrics').

But Frayn's literary experiment is not, I think, entirely successful. Although some relaxation of the laws of probability is inevitable in a farce, the events related here go beyond the frontier of the merely improbable into the land of the frankly incredible. Too often the reader finds themselves saying, in Victor Meldrew style, 'I don't believe it!'.

The other weakness is the ending, which is unsatisfying and arbitrary. It is almost as if Frayn simply lost patience with assembling the intricate Swiss watch of his plot and simply threw the thing against the wall.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I heard an interview on R4 with Michael Frayn and bought this book because I thought I'd give him a chance. Oh Dear! I think I smiled slightly twice reading it! I would write more but, truly, life is too short!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sorry, I'm a fan of Michael ridiculous work, but for me this read like something that had half an eye on a stage or film piece. Don't get me wrong, there were a few laugh out loud moments, but as as farcical moment piled on farcical moment it all became rather breatheless and more and more breathless.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just started to read this book and it is promising well. Thank you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very contrived plot which was not believable as it all happens in a couple of days. In relation to the characters, you can see the ending coming, but there was a slightly surprising twist at the end.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
perfect for by the pool, quite light but with good characterisation and well written farcical situations. On the whole an amusing read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A long tedious book .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unlike many of the other reviewers here, I didn't buy this expecting great literature or stylistic finesse to rival Proust or Henry James. I found what I wanted - an entertaining read that is light without insulting my intelligence, and plenty of humour, not least in the form of parody (possibly missed by reviewer Not_Stoppard?). I raced through this book, enjoying it greatly almost to the end (the denouement is weak after the tautness of the plotting in the first three-quarters of the book). I can honestly say that I laughed out loud several times, and my biggest disappointment, apart from the handling of the ending, was that it was all over too soon!
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