Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Skios, Michael Frayn - The Review

Dr. Norman Wilfried and Fox Oliver (Mr.) exchange identities (accidentally so for only one of them) and proceed to take us on a hilarious journey where we are invited to choose to ponder existentialist theories or not ponder.

The Concept
Suppose you write a book with a perfect mix of humour which tickles the thoughts of the mind's eye and humour that overwhelms the vision of the mind's eye, would the mind's sense of humour be grateful or be resentful?

Throw in questions about the meaning of life, the beginning of life, the idea of predestination, the non-rigidity of identity and other questions, to ensure the sourpuss mind without a sense of humour comes away with something as well.

Write the book well.

The Writing
It is very well written.

The Story
Oliver Fox mostly lives up to his reputation. He is a live in the moment guy - see a fork in the road, take it, go where it goes, and if it goes nowhere/somewhere unpleasant, retrace your steps.

Oliver has had his plans for a fuck filled weekend in the Greek island of Skios fucked up by a last minute rescheduling/cancellation.

Oliver sees a fork in the road on arrival at the airport - an enticing, well put together gentle woman, holding up a sign for Dr. Norman (or Wilfried, it has been at least a month, I forget which is which), entreats him with a smile to be the said doctor.

Oliver becomes Dr. (two first names), having, surely, by some act of providence been mistakenly stuck with said doctor's luggage.

Phoksoliva is the unlikely Greek salutation, which alters the course of Dr. Wilfred Norman's (or Norman Wilfred's) Greek adventure. Instead of the pampering his well earned reputation as a sought after, international, guest speaker deserves, he ends up in a remote cabin miles away from any living creature, save for a herd of goats, until he is joined first by Mr. Fox's intended sexual feast for the weekend and then by Mr. Fox's somewhat estranged long term girlfriend.

There's little chance you'll forget at any point in this book that it is a farce.

The Resolution
There is a moment of horror when it seems all the book will leave behind are probabilities and possibilities of several endings. In the end though, we are treated to an outrageous and fantastical ending, which in my opinion takes more away from the story than it adds.

The Verdict
If you fail to have a successful relationship filled with love and laughter with this book, be not mistaken, it's you not the book.

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