In a letter to a literary agent, Flann O’Brien described his first novel as “a very queer affair, unbearably queer perhaps.” The book in question was At. Flann O’Brien’s innovative metafictional work, whose unruly characters strike out their own paths in life to the frustration of their author. O’Brien found his novel branded as the book you read for more of the same after you had finished Finnegans Wake. Since few survived the Wake, and even.

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Dhalgren by Samuel R. There can hardly be a better term than palimpsest for describing At Swim-two-birds. On Photography Susan Sontag.

At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien

This is also reality- no human being who walks anywhere amid the world is alien to this quiet hum, this presence, and Joyce captures it with amazing accuracy. Long live Dermot Trellis!

A book in a thousand. Description Flann O’Brien’s innovative metafictional work, whose unruly characters strike out their own paths in life to the frustration of their author, At Swim-Two-Birds is a brilliant impressionistic jumble of ideas, mythology and nonsense published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Genius, like venereal disease, comes in multiple forms. The funniest part, though, comes after reading three pages or so of this absurd, inane, jocular, puerile, argument when you realize that you have been completely absorbed in it.

Flann O’Brien is surely Ireland’s most neglected writer. Unless, of course, he picked up the book and read it himself: The magisterial influence of Joyce also an architect of labyrinths, also a literary Proteus is undeniable, but not disproportionate in this manifold book.

They had it coming, those authors, we all know that much.

At Swim-two-birds : Flann O’Brien :

Example one thus shows that nonsense can be traced within sense itself, as an extreme variable in the pragmatic parameters of cooperative conversation, and as a dynamic force which playfully distorts and unsettles our received conception of meaning.


And as they talked, they threaded through the twilight and the sudden sun-pools of the wild country. Our primary narrator describes, among other information, his theory of writing novels, including his conviction that characters need not be developed de novo but should be taken from other novels, rather like available stock, to save the need of constructing them from fflann, the trick being to control them so that they do not go off on their own.

Flan 16, Miriam rated it really liked it Recommended to Miriam by: Joyce is notorious for saying that he purposefully included many puzzles, riddles, irien paradoxes into his texts to keep interested parties busy for years. Oh, drat – so much for that promising beginning. Here is how this goes. Seeing them again after so many years made me nostalgic so I took my old tattered copy of At Swim Two Birds down from its shelf slot causing Madame Bovary and The Ginger Man to fall against each other.

Sounds kind of strange, and it is, but O’Brian has enough rhetorical gusto to keep everyhthing running smoothly. Unfortunately, after slogging through the last 80 or so pages of random witterings, I can’t remember what they were or why I enjoyed them. I can tell already.

Our narrator likes to imbibe large quantities of porter and wax philosophical with his friends about his literary projects. However, I read in the Wiki that this book was supposed to be a satire of the political conditions in Ofien during the time of its writing so there must be an explanation on those.

The 100 best novels: No 64 – At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien (1939)

Dermot Trellis is a writer second layerhe is the primary character I suppose of the young unnamed man’s work, and he finds that once he writes his characters into being or borrows them from another author they are quite literally so, and he continuous to employ and house them. Lovers of meta, have your meta and eat it too, but fann compliment your meta, become engaged with your meta, elope with your meta to newfound states of the detail and the devil so long as you mind your meta-ed manners.


His father had learned Irish while a young man during the Gaelic revival the son was later to mock. Probably some will stumble away pallid and looking like they’ve spent a week with a ma This is a seriously lovely inch perfect parabola of joy which everyone ought to at least try.

Thus, no birds were asked to swim in the river here. A ura by C arlos Fuentes Week Instead he is adding another level to what such a context might mean.

The modern novel should be largely a work of reference. I like gull-cries and the twittering together of fine cranes.

What eventually moves him? T he Golden Ass by A puleius Week 7: Is it merely a construct? Joyce was of course deeply formally experimental, but also wide-ranging enough in his modes of fiction that he could fairly be called, at various points in his career, swim-twl-birds for various reasons, a Realist, or a Surrealist, a Modernist, or a Post-Modernist, or what-you-will.


Return to Book Page. The characters of the fictional writer turn against him and start to live their lives on their own. This little book is a commitment and I’m not sure what one gets out of it. View all 20 comments.