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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.
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.
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!
Man 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.