Summary: Along with one or two books by James Joyce, Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds is the most famous (and infamous) of Irish novels published in the twentieth century. Or to put it as Dylan Thomas did: "It establishes Mr. O'Brien in the forefront of contemporary writing. . . . This is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl!"
The story of an Irish college student who--half to amuse himself and half to avoid work--writes an ...show more 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 which had a major influence on writers coming after O'Brien, including Anthony Burgess, Gilbert Sorrentino, and William H. Gass (who has written an introduction for this edition).
O'Brien opened up a whole new world of possibilities for fiction as 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 put out to pasture once their stories are finished. ...show less