At Swim-Two-Birds

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Overview

The story of an Irish college student who - half to amuse himself and half to avoid work - writes an irreverent novel about the figures of Irish myth and legend in which characters come to life and riot against their author, At Swim is a wildly comic send-up of Irish literature and culture. O'Brien opened up a whole new world of possibilities for fiction and subsequent novelists have played with his zany ideas, chief among them being the idea that characters in fiction have earned the right to be "recycled" - ...
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2000 Paperback A new copy of this book In stock and despatched from the UK. NB: All orders from the USA and Canada have to be sent via the Alibris depot in the UK and are then ... sent to the customer by Alibris in the USA. Until the book is received in the USA Alibris warehouse your order will show as Pending. Expected delivery dates are contained in the Help section of this site and in the confirmation email. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

The story of an Irish college student who - half to amuse himself and half to avoid work - writes an irreverent novel about the figures of Irish myth and legend in which characters come to life and riot against their author, At Swim is a wildly comic send-up of Irish literature and culture. O'Brien opened up a whole new world of possibilities for fiction and subsequent novelists have played with his zany ideas, chief among them being the idea that characters in fiction have earned the right to be "recycled" - after all, they've proven their reliability as characters! - not retired once their stories are finished.
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Editorial Reviews

New Republic
“At Swim-Two-Birds is a marvel of imagination, language, and humor.”
Graham Greene
“At Swim-Two-Birds has remained in my mind ever since it first appeared as one of the best books of our century. A book in a thousand . . . in the line of Ulysses and Tristram Shandy.”
Philip Toynbee
“If I were a cultural dictator in England I would make At Swim-Two-Birds compulsory reading in all universities.”
Anthony Burgess
“Flann O'Brien is unquestionably a major author. His work, like that of
Joyce, is so layered as to be almost Dante-esque. . . . Joyce and Flann
O'Brien assault your brain with words, style, magic, madness, and unlimited invention.”
Chicago Tribune
“At Swim-Two-Birds is both a comedy and a fantasy of such staggering originality that it baffles description and very nearly beggars our sense of delight.”
Washington Post
“'Tis the odd joke of modern Irish literature—of the three novelists in its holy trinity, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Flann O'Brien, the easiest and most accessible of the lot is O'Brien. . . . Flann O'Brien was too much his own man, Ireland's man, to speak in any but his own tongue.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141182681
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000

Meet the Author

Flann O'Brien, whose real name was Brian O'Nolan, also wrote under the pen name of Myles na Gopaleen. He was born in 1911 in County Tyrone. A resident of Dublin, he graduated from University College after a brilliant career as a student (editing a magazine called Blather) and joined the Civil Service, in which he eventually attained a senior position. He wrote throughout his life, which ended in Dublin on April 1, 1966. His other novels include The Dalkey Archive, The Third Policeman, The Hard Life, and The Poor Mouth, all available from Dalkey Archive Press. Also available are three volumes of his newspaper columns: The Best of Myles, Further Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn, and At War.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2005

    Really entertaining

    I loved the beginning, and just got into it, and I found as long as I made a list of characters I could easily keep track of what was going on. I'm sure I would have a better appreciation were I to study a bit of Irish folklore, but even being ignorant didn't impede my ability to appreciate the absolutely brilliant tapestry he's weaving. The characters are wholly real, and I love his use of the English language. I was reading multiple books when I read this one, and for the last half of the book I quit reading everything else and just concentrated on At Swim! Most recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2001

    Brilliantly written verbal voyage of imagination

    This book is a wonderfull menagerie of fantasy and frivolity. A blur of fact and fiction. Wonderfully written, it paints vivid pictures in the mind and takes the written word where it has never been before. A must read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2000

    If you like good literature read this one!

    A wonderful book. It can be a bit hard to get started. I suggest the old read-aloud-trick to find the author's voice and rhythms. Once I read a few pages aloud and found the music within I was hooked. Great author intrusion. Many exciting techniques. A writer's writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2011

    Run For the Hills

    If you read for pleasure and to relax, run away far far away. If you want a challenge beyound anything in your life, pick this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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