Michael Frayn

Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Michael Frayn’s Skios (Review # 4)

Rating: 3.5
Skios
A Novel by Michael Frayn
2012 / 272 Pages

 

On the Greek island of Skios, guests of the Fred Toppler Foundation are eagerly awaiting the keynote address of world-renowned scientist, Dr. Norman Wilfred.  But the Dr. Wilfred who appears is not at all like they imagined – especially for Nikki, the overworked, under-appreciated and exhausted organizer of this high-profile event.  Nikki is stunned to find that Dr. Wilfred is young, handsome, and extremely charismatic rather than the middle-aged, formal academic she was expecting to meet.  In fact, Dr. Wilfred is so unbelievably personable, considering that he is a highly-acclaimed, brilliant scientist and researcher, that Nikki and the rest of the guests are stunned by his charm and wit.  Dr. Norman Wilfred is seemingly a godsend for the stuffy, staunch Foundation, but there’s just one problem….the man claiming to be Dr. Wilfred isn’t Dr. Wilfred at all.  He’s just a young, bored, spontaneous man who happened to be mistaken for the distinguished scientist.  Most normal people would quickly correct a mistaken identity, but not Oliver Fox.  Oliver is tire of being Oliver, so why not be Dr. Wilfred for a few days?  Everyone seems convinced enough.

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Know Your Booker!: Michael Frayn’s Skios

SkiosSo 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.

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Michael Frayn’s Skios (Review #3)

SkiosRating: 4
Skios
A Novel by Michael Frayn
2012 / 272 Pages

The Setup: The great master of farce turns to an exclusive island retreat for a comedy of mislaid identities, unruly passions, and demented, delicious disorder.

On the private Greek island of Skios, the high-paying guests of a world-renowned foundation prepare for the annual keynote address, to be given this year by Dr. Norman Wilfred, an eminent authority on the scientific organization of science. He turns out to be surprisingly youthful, handsome, and charming–quite unlike his reputation as dry and intimidating. Everyone is soon eating out of his hands. So, even sooner, is Nikki, the foundation’s attractive and efficient organizer.

Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island, Nikki’s old friend Georgie has rashly agreed to spend a furtive horizontal weekend with a notorious schemer, who has characteristically failed to turn up. Trapped there with her instead is a pompous, balding individual called Dr. Norman Wilfred, who has lost his whereabouts, his luggage, his temper, and increasingly all sense of reality–indeed, everything he possesses other than the text of a well-traveled lecture on the scientific organization of science.

In a spiraling farce about upright academics, gilded captains of industry, ambitious climbers, and dotty philanthropists, Michael Frayn, the farceur “by whom all others must be measured” (CurtainUp), tells a story of personal and professional disintegration, probing his eternal theme of how we know what we know even as he delivers us to the outer limits of hilarity. (From the hardcover edition)

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Michael Frayn’s Skios (Review #2)

Rating: 3
Skios
Michael Frayn
2012 / 278 Pages

This is a story of mistaken identity that turns into mass hi-jinx on the Greek Island of Skios.  Dr. Norman Wilfred has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the Annual Fred Toppler Foundation Fundraiser. Nikki is the PA in charge of getting Dr. Wilfred to the party. Oliver Fox is a “famous” womanizer that has traded one woman for another for a weekend getaway in a borrowed villa. In a typical Three’s Company kind of way things quickly get all mixed up as Nikki mistakes Oliver for Dr. Wilfred.

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Michael Frayn’s Skios

Rating: 4
Skios
A Novel by Michael Frayn
2012 / 272 Pages

The setup: On the Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation’s annual lecture is to be given by Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. He turns out to be surprisingly young and charming and the Foundation’s guests are soon eating out of his hand. Meanwhile, in a remote village at the other end of the island, 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…

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Skios took me by surprise. This is my first time reading Booker nominees, and I suppose I was expecting more highbrow fare. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative review!

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The Man Booker Award 2012 Longlist

ManBookerMan Booker fever is upon us!  Today the 12 novels that made the longlist were finally revealed and we’ve compiled each of their full descriptions for you below on one easy to read page.  The 6 titles that make the shortlist cut will be announced on September 11th and the ultimate winner of the prize will be announced on October 16th.

Look for this page to be updated with links to reviews as we continue to make our way through the longlist and keep checking BookerMarks for even more up to the minute Man Booker coverage.

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