Friday, May 6, 2011
A Death in Dublin
Set in an all-boy Catholic prep school in contemporary Dublin, the story draws you in to the lives of the teens and teachers who populate the school as they cope with the casual cruelties and deeper tragedies of life. Here you meet Ruprecht, Skippy's roommate, who is "A hamster-cheeked boy with a chronic weight problem.." and is obsessed with string theory. There is Lori the girl Skippy falls for, a beautiful but troubled girl from the neighboring girl's school and her drug dealing, bullying boyfriend Carl. Howard is an alumni of the school who has returned in disgrace from his job in finance to take up a teaching position and must deal with bored students and a stagnant relationship. Most of all there is Skippy, a seemingly unremarkable, sensitive 14 year old boy who is struggling to get by.
In this complex novel told from multiple viewpoints, Murray beautifully writes not only about the growing pains of adolescence, but also the struggles of adulthood. The characters may appear stereotypical at first, but the author fleshes them out and makes them seem like real people. This challenging book is worth the effort.