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Dock

At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O' Brien

How to sum up this book? A weird and wonderful surrealistic mix of satire, Irish mythology, and poetry. That'll have to do. The very loose plot is based around an Irish student of literature who intertwines three separate fictional settings in with the narrative of his own personal life, his drinking pals, and his uncle who he lodges with and who when not at work at The Guinness brewery is always on our unnamed narrators back for his dedication to doing as little as possible.

It's style is far from straightforward and I found it similar (and just as hard work) as Samuel Beckett's 'Malone dies' in how it is as far from a traditional narrative that you could get. The poetic nature of it is charming and very engaging and I admire Flann O'Brien (real name Brian O' Nolan) but the book is as precocious and off at a tangent as the rich Irish literary tradition it comes from. Although published in 1939 it still shines as a celebration of language and humour.
grunt

Yes it's hard work that one, but worth the effort. If you've not read The Third Policeman or The Poor Mouth I'd urge you to do so. Both just as brilliant and funny, but much more accessible.
Dock

grunt wrote:
Yes it's hard work that one, but worth the effort. If you've not read The Third Policeman or The Poor Mouth I'd urge you to do so. Both just as brilliant and funny, but much more accessible.


You sir are a mindreader. I was wondering if his other stuff was worth a look. Some of the humour and writing in ASWTB is brilliant, but the surrealist stuff could put off a reader from attempting his other books. Thanks for the advice especially about The Third Policeman. You da man G Man, FACT!

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