Daily Bookshot: A Box of Dead Kangaroo?



A Box of Dead Kangeroo?, originally uploaded by Robert Burdock.

It’s always a nice feeling when you win something, right? Well yours truly did just that a couple of days ago over at William Rycroft’s Just William’s Luck blog, and today’s bookshot shows the fruits of my good fortune.

What can I tell you about Skippy Dies? Well not a lot really. It’s definitely not a box of dead kangaroo as the title would suggest, but rather a unique tripartite way of presenting the latest novel from former bookseller Paul Murray. It was published by Hamish Hamilton earlier this month (4th February) and here’s the blurb:

Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius whose hobbies include very difficult maths and the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster is his roommate. In the grand old Dublin institution that is Seabrook College for Boys, nobody pays either of them much attention. But when Skippy falls for Lori, the Frisbee-playing Siren from the girls’ school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest – including Carl, part-time drug-dealer and official school psychopath.

While his teachers battle over modernisation, and Ruprecht attempts to open a portal into a parallel universe, Skippy, in the name of love, is heading for a showdown – in the form of a fatal doughnut-eating race that only one person will survive. This unlikely tragedy will explode Seabrook’s century-old complacency and bring all kinds of secrets into the light, until teachers and pupils alike discover that the fragile lines dividing past from present, love from betrayal – and even life from death – have become almost impossible to read . . .

So that’s the synopsis for Skippy Dies, which I think sounds promising enough (as a blurb doing its job right should do), and if you want to read an extract, then Penguin have kindly provided one on the product page for the novel.

I should also mention that the artwork, which I’m sure everyone will agree is gorgeous, is the creation of eminent artist Leanne Shapton. It’s one of these designs that I think looks deceptively simple, but is probably really difficult to pull off. I think she has, and spectacularly so.

So that’s Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, and although I’m not sure when I’ll get around to reading it (soon I hope but a novel in three parts is rather binding isn’t it?), but I count my blessing that I own a copy. It’s not often that I triumph in any competition, let alone one in which I was the first name down in the entry order. I’d convinced myself I didn’t stand a chance and I just left it to the fate of the Book Gods. Thankfully they were smiling on me favourably that day.

My thanks again to William and his excellent literary blog for giving me the opportunity of winning this.

Hamish Hamilton | 04 February 2010 | £18.99 | PAPERBACK | 672 PP | ISBN: 9780241141823

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books)