At Swim-Two-Birds

At Swim-Two-Birds

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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.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 137.16 x 213.36 x 20.32mm | 362.87g
  • Dalkey Archive Press
  • Normal, IL, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 156478181X
  • 9781564781819
  • 68,979

Review quote

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. --Graham Greene

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Back cover copy

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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