Skios by Michael Frayn
A Novel

64%

8 Critic Reviews

It lacks the melancholy wisdom of “A Landing on the Sun” and the beautifully engineered clockwork precision of “Headlong.”
-NY Times

Synopsis

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.

 

About Michael Frayn

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Michael Frayn is the author of nine novels, including the bestselling Headlong, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice selection and a Booker Prize finalist. He has also written thirteen plays, among them Noises Off and Copenhagen, which won three Tony Awards in 1999. He lives in London.
 
Published May 3, 2012 by Faber & Faber. 288 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Travel, Business & Economics, History. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Skios
All: 8 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Jun 27 2012

It lacks the melancholy wisdom of “A Landing on the Sun” and the beautifully engineered clockwork precision of “Headlong.”

Read Full Review of Skios: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Alex Witchel on Jun 15 2012

Frayn is such good company, you hate for the story to end...

Read Full Review of Skios: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Alex Preston on Apr 27 2013

It's a pacy, engaging read, allowing Frayn to unfurl regular bursts of his coruscating intellect while remaining amusing throughout...

Read Full Review of Skios: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Theo Tait on Apr 26 2012

It is not, it has to be said, an entirely successful experiment. It lands Frayn with characters who are genre-bound and tinny: bland romantic leads supported by by-the-numbers comic foreigners.

Read Full Review of Skios: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Jeanne Farewell on Jun 14 2013

...for readers who favor a farce — complete with conventions from ancient Greek drama — I’d heartily recommend Skios. It sparkles like the Aegean.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Jack Goodstein on May 29 2013

...the novel’s plot is built around mistaken identity, misunderstandings and blatant chicanery, all the stuff off traditional farce.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Kathleen Byrne on Aug 03 2012

...a chaotic romp that is funnier than, really, it has any right to be, based as it is on the hoary convention of mistaken...identity, lost luggage and the apparently unplumbable gullibility of the human race.

Read Full Review of Skios: A Novel | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Barbara Carey on Jul 14 2012

There’s no question that the story requires a reader’s suspension of disbelief, but Frayn makes it well worthwhile.

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Reader Rating for Skios
62%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 153 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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