Dear Great Book Guru, I am looking forward to spending my vacation week at the loveliest of spots: Sea Cliff Beach. I see myself lounging on one of those comfortable blue canvas chairs underneath a blue and white stripped umbrella set up by the gracious beach staff and reading for hours. What is missing from this picture? Yes, a good book! Do you have something to recommend? Summering in Sea Cliff
Dear Summering, What an idyllic scene… and I do have a good book for you: SKIOS by Michael Frayn. Frayn is a favorite of mine; he has written many novels and plays over the years and all are literary gems of one kind or another. His latest work SKIOS is an hilarious novel of mistaken identity that punctures the pretentious worlds of academia, philanthropy, and public relations. Wealthy guests from around the world converge on a private Greek island Skios to hear a world renowned , middle-aged, pompous academic Dr. Norman Wilfred give the keynote address for the Fred Toppler Foundation's annual conference. When Wilfred arrives everyone is shocked to find him young, attractive, and charming. Of course, he is not Wilfred, but an irrepressible con artist Oliver Fox who has mistakenly picked up the renowned doctor's luggage, passport, and,yes, his identity. Meanwhile, the not so young, not so attractive, and certainly not so charming Wilfred finds himself at a remote villa without cell phone or luggage but with a beautiful woman who was meeting Fox for the first time. The story takes many zany twists and turns but Frayn's genius lies in his ability to keep it all going while allowing us to ponder the deeper questions of who we really are and how do we know what we know. Great fun!