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At Swim Two Boys a Novel by Jamie ONeill - Oneills Writing is as Precise and Coordinated as a Clock Makers Work Outstanding Book

At Swim Two Boys a Novel by Jamie ONeill - Oneills Writing is as Precise and Coordinated as a Clock Makers Work Outstanding Book

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Published by: frankyu897 on Dec 09, 2011
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At Swim, Two Boys: A Novel by Jamie ONeill

The Evil Thing Is The English In Ireland

You may have read the hype. Irishman Jamie ONeill was working as a London hospital porter when his 10-year labor of love, the 200,000-word manuscript of At Swim, Two Boys, written on a laptop during quiet patches at work, was suddenly snapped up for a hefty six-figure advance. For once, the book fully deserves the hype. In the spring of 1915, Jim Mack and the Doyler, two Dublin boys, make a pact to swim to an island in Dublin Bay the following Easter. By the time they do, Dublin has been consumed by the Easter Uprising, and the boys friendship has blossomed into love--a love that will in time be overtaken by tragedy. ONeills prose, playing merrily with vocabulary, syntax, and idiom, has unsurprisingly drawn comparisons to James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, but in his creation of comic characters (such as Jims pathetic but irrepressible father) and in the sheer scale of his work, Charles Dickens springs to mind first. But Dickens never wrote a love story between young men as aching ly beautiful as this. In the character of Anthony MacMurrough, who is haunted by voices as he pursues his illegal and dangerous desire for Dublin boys, ONeill has created a complex and fascinating center to his novel, rescuing the love story from mawki shness, and allowing a serious meditation on history, politics, and desire. For as Ireland seeks its own future free of British government, so Jim, Doyle, and MacMurrough look back to Sparta to find a way to live. As Dr Scrotes, one of MacMurroughs voices, commands: Help these boys build a nation of their own. Ransack the histories for clues to their past. Plunder the literature for words they can speak. In this massive, enthralling, and brilliant debut, Jamie ONeill has indeed done just that: provided a nation for what Walt Whitman calls, in ONeills epigraph, the love of comrades. --Alan Stewart, Amazon.co.uk Features: * Click here to view our Condition Guide and Shipping Prices At Swim, Two Boys: A Novel

The Evil Thing is The English in Ireland A moment - then all of a glow the sun is on Jims face. He looks up where the clouds have parted. The sun shines and bathes the world, and the land trembles at the touch. How green are the fields, how lush the grass. Each blade of grass glistens, and the leaves of the trees and hedges glisten with a silvery light all their own. The crows above cease their mockery. The fat contented cows look up in wonder. How rich is this land. It is a rich and rare land. Why wouldnt it be rare, fed on the martyred dead? Jamie ONeills At Swim, Two Boys can be read on several levels. On one level, it is a love story between two adolescent boys: one educated, privileged and destined for success; the other destitute, partially crippled, seduced and corrupted by the gentry, and likely condemned to a Dickensian life among the poor. On another level, it is a rich social and political history of the buildup to the Easter Rising of 1916 which, coming during the First World War, provides a natural dramatic backdrop. Irish Nationalism, Wolf Tone, the Green Flag and the Red Hand, Parnell , Roger Casement and the whole raft of heroes, traitors and martyrs figures in. At yet another point, it is an evocation of the rich literary heritage of Ireland: Joyces Ulysses and Dubliners; Yeats poems and plays, and Wildes iconoclasm and social commentary. There is enough material in ONeills book to keep your interest for at least a couple of weeks. (After all, it took ONeill ten years of working as a night porter at a London psychiatri c institution to write it) ONeills style is intimidating at first ---local geographic references, Irish idioms and gaelic phrases. Several reviewers have faulted him for his hermetic difficulty-- but once you get the hang of it, its understandable. (Joyce was no quick and easy read, either) The characters are well-developed and complex. Jim Mack, the senstitive, intelligent boy, is dogged by a brother fighting in Gallipoli and a bourgeoise father. Doyler is the patriotic - even radical - Irish everyman. With his winning grin and boyish charm hes extremely likeable. MacMurrough is the most complicated character, modeled on Wilde and also imprisoned by the British for sodomy, he is apparently schizophrenic, possessed by the voices of conscience and of experience. Beginning as the seducer and corrupter, he becomes the protector and mentor. It has been many years since Ive read a novel with as much substance, charm and emotion as ONeills At Swim, Two Boys. Hopefully, there will be more to follow.

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