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. Flann O'Brien's first novel tells the story of a young, indolent undergraduate, who lives with his curmudgeonly uncle in Dubin and spends far too much time drinking with his friends. When not drunk or in bed he likes to invent wild stories peoples with hilarious and unlikely characters - but somehow his creations won't do what he wants them to. A dazzling work of farce, satire, folklore and absurdity that gives full rein to its author's dancing intellect and Celtic wit, At Swim-Two-Birds is both a brilliant comic send-up of Irish literature and culture, and a portrayal of Dublin to compare with Joyce's Ulysses. Brian Ó Nualláin, (1911-1966), better known by his pseudonym Flann O'Brien, was born in Strabane, County Tyrone, and studied at University College Dublin before joining the Irish Civil Service. Ifyou enjoyed At Swim-Two-Birds, you might like Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'This is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl' Dylan Thomas 'That's a real writer, with the true comic spirit' James Joyce, author of Ulysses 'A brilliant, beer-soaked miniature masterpiece' Time
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If you try to read it too closely, the structure of this book will drive you crazy. Ask me how I know. On the first level, it seems to emanate from the addled mind of a navel-gazing Irish university student stumbling around thinking about writing a book or a school paper. As I said, you can go nuts trying to follow it. Yet At Swim-Two-Birds is a modernist masterpiece, the best-known fictional work of Irish newspaper writer Flann O'Brien. Published in 1939, the book's great charm is O'Brien's constant reinvention of the English language, fueled and altered by an Irish sensibility and language; the sentences come out in a torrent of musical, drunken ramblings.About the Author:
Brian O'Nolan (Irish: Brian Ó Nualláin) (5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966) was an Irish novelist, playwright and satirist regarded as a key figure in postmodern literature. Born in Strabane, County Tyrone, he is best known for English language novels such as At Swim-Two-Birds, and The Third Policeman (written under the nom de plume Flann O'Brien) as well as many satirical columns in The Irish Times and an Irish language novel An Béal Bocht (written under the name Myles na gCopaleen), O'Nolan has also been referred to as a "scientific prophet" in relation to his writings on thermodynamics, quaternion theory and atomic theory.
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