Skios: A Novel

Front Cover
Henry Holt and Company, Jun 19, 2012 - Fiction - 272 pages

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.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Fergus_Cooper - LibraryThing

A shocker. Poor Farce. Uninteresting. It was an achievement (of some sorts) finishing it. Would I recommend it? Yes!!! (to an enemy). I struggled to understand the ridiculous story line, if indeed ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - proustitute - LibraryThing

A witty, clever farce. Frayn is very skillful in his use of comedy here, and he takes his time building up the characters so that—by the time one is midway through the novel—his continued ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
22
Section 2
34
Section 3
50
Section 4
56
Section 5
72
Section 6
106
Section 7
110
Section 8
134
Section 9
160
Section 10
166
Section 11
180
Section 12
188
Section 13
198
Section 14
216
Section 15
248
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Michael Frayn is the author of ten novels, including the bestselling Headlong, which was a New York Times Editors' Choice selection and a Booker Prize finalist, and Spies, which received the Whitbread Fiction Award. He has also written a memoir, My Father's Fortune, and fifteen plays, among them Noises Off and Copenhagen, which won three Tony Awards. He lives just south of London.

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