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Skios

There are very few truly memorable comic novels - testament to just how hard it is to sustain what is often a single conceit over 200+ pages.

You'd put classics such as Don Quixote, Tristan Shandy and Tom Jones, as well as most of Dickens in that category and more recently the likes of Lucky Jim, Billy Liar, Catch 22.

You could certainly make a case for Michael Frayn's Towards the End Of The Morning - a wonderful comedy set in the good old days of Fleet Street.

All of which is, of course, leading up to the admission that Frayn's latest book Skios isn't likely to be ranked in that company - but that doesn't mean it is anything less than a very entertaining diversion.

The central conceit in what is really a Whitehall farce is that a happy-go-lucky chancer goes on holiday to Greece, where he allows himself to be mistaken for a visiting professor of scientometrics with somewhat predictable if often very funny consequences...

If you know that Frayn was the author of Clockwise, the 1986 film starring John Cleese and Alison Steadman, you'll know what to expect - it's all coincidences, mistaken identities and mislaid clothes.

All of which is entertaining, although it does start to flag towards the end.

Tags: books
Posted on 19th February 2013 by Hush

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