At Swim-Two-Birds

( 8 )

Overview

A wildly comic send-up of Irish literature and culture, At Swim-Two-Birds is the story of a young, lazy, and frequently drunk Irish college student who lives with his curmudgeonly uncle in Dublin. When not in bed (where he seems to spend most of his time) or reading he is composing a mischief-filled novel about Dermot Trellis, a second-rate author whose characters ultimately rebel against him and seek vengeance. From drugging him as he sleeps to dropping the ceiling on his head, these figures of Irish myth make ...

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Overview

A wildly comic send-up of Irish literature and culture, At Swim-Two-Birds is the story of a young, lazy, and frequently drunk Irish college student who lives with his curmudgeonly uncle in Dublin. When not in bed (where he seems to spend most of his time) or reading he is composing a mischief-filled novel about Dermot Trellis, a second-rate author whose characters ultimately rebel against him and seek vengeance. From drugging him as he sleeps to dropping the ceiling on his head, these figures of Irish myth make Trellis pay dearly for his bad writing. Hilariously funny and inventive, At Swim-Two-Birds has influenced generations of writers, opening up new possibilities for what can be done in fiction. It is a true masterpiece of Irish literature.

Dalkey Archive Press

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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: 9781564781819
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Series: Great Irish Writers
  • Pages: 239
  • Sales rank: 182,641
  • Lexile: 1120L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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

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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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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