So you think you know everything there is to know about Michael Frayn’s Booker nominated novel Skios? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!
What’s it about?
Skios is described by the book’s publisher Faber & Faber as follows:
Good God, thought Oliver, as he saw the smile. She thinks I’m him! And all at once he knew it was so. He was Dr Norman Wilfred.
On the sunlit Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation is preparing for the most important event in its calendar: its annual lecture. This year they have secured a major star: Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. When he arrives he turns out to be surprisingly young and charming – not at all the intimidating figure they had been expecting.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the island, a young woman waits for the notorious chancer she has rashly agreed to go on holiday with and who has only too characteristically failed to turn up. Trapped in the villa with her instead, by an unfortunate chain of misadventure, is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred, who has lost his whereabouts, his luggage, his temper and increasingly all normal sense of reality …
And as the time draws ever nearer for one or other Dr Wilfred – or possibly both – to give the eagerly-awaited lecture, so Skios – Greece – Europe – career off their appointed track.
Who is Michael Frayn?
According to his official bio on the Faber & Faber website:
Michael Frayn was born in London in 1933 and began his career as a journalist on the Guardian and the Observer. His novels include Towards the End of the Morning, The Trick of It and A Landing on the Sun. Headlong (1999) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while his most recent novel, Spies (2002), won the Whitbread Novel Award. His fifteen plays range from Noises Off to Copenhagen and most recently Afterlife. A collection of his travel writing, Travels with a Typewriter, was published in 2009, and a memoir, My Father’s Fortune, in 2010. In April 2012 Michael Frayn was awarded the Sky Arts South Bank Lifetime Achievement award. He is married to the writer Claire Tomalin.
What does BookerMarks think of Skios?
Karli (Review): “It’s basically like literary fireworks – loud, overwhelming, and extrasensory – but incredibly entertaining nonetheless.”
Aaron (Review): “Frayn’s investigation of identity and what we’ll all but force ourselves into believing no matter how much we know it to be untrue, is pitch perfect.”
Jackie (Review): “Michael Frayn must be just ecstatic that he got the Man Booker nod.”
Mike (Review): “The plot is multilayered, possibly too self-consciously so, but you should be too entertained to notice.”