Read At Swim, Two Boys Online Free - Praised as “a work of wild, vaulting ambition and achievement” by Entertainment Weekly, Jamie O’Neill’s first novel invites comparison to such literary greats as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Charles Dickens.
Set during the year preceding the Easter Uprising of 1916—Ireland’s brave but fractured revolt against British rule—At Swim, Two Boys is a tender, tragic love story and a brilliant depiction of people caught in the tide of history. Powerful and artful, and ten years in the writing, it is a masterwork from Jamie O’Neill.
Jim Mack is a naïve young scholar and the son of a foolish, aspiring shopkeeper. Doyler Doyle is the rough-diamond son—revolutionary and blasphemous—of Mr. Mack’s old army pal. Out at the Forty Foot, that great jut of rock where gentlemen bathe in the nude, the two boys make a pact: Doyler will teach Jim to swim, and in a year, on Easter of 1916, they will swim to the distant beacon of Muglins Rock and claim that island for themselves. All the while Mr. Mack, who has grand plans for a corner shop empire, remains unaware of the depth of the boys’ burgeoning friendship and of the changing landscape of a nation.
|Title||:||At Swim, Two Boys|
|Number of Pages||:||562 pages|
September 28, 2017
Is it Mr. O'Neill's thesis that a novel can become even more memorable than a song? In this lyrically-dense and character-driven novel, prose beautifully attempts to become lyric and vice versa: the story's universal edge gives it a gravity that's more resolute than even that of legend. The dialo...
August 30, 2007
Wow. From first to last an amazing book. Be sure to read the first edition; later American editions omit a difficult prefatory section written in unrelentingly difficult Irish and from the perspective of a drunkard. It's not for nothing that one reviewer called O'Neill the love child of Oscar Wil...
July 08, 2011
If Russia has Leo Tolstoy and Anna Karenina, Ireland has Jamie O’Neill and At Swim, Two Boys. The milieu of Anna was Russia few decades before the Russian Revolution in 1917 that abolished the Tsarist autocracy and installed Soviet Union. O’Neill’s milieu was that of Ireland during the 1916 Easte...
November 14, 2015
"We looked the other way. We spoke of everything but. But we’ve always known, and not saying anything now confirmed it all the more. We had found the stars, you and I. And this is given once only."
I almost quit reading this book after the first few pages. It wasn't anything about the story, it wa...
October 23, 2007
An astonishing book, big and flawed and driven and filled with love and anger. I can't recommend it too highly. Other reviewers here have mentioned that it takes some getting into, but only if you don't let the ear do part of the work of reading. Listen to what O'Neill is doing with the language,...
November 28, 2010
Shortly after I reviewed Gay Male Fiction Since Stonewall, I received a note from author Les Brookes suggesting I read At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill [Scribner, 2002]. I took him at his word, and I am ever so happy that I did. This is an epic tale (576 pages) that has been compared to such he...
April 15, 2009
This book is the "Wuthering Heights" of gay-themed fiction. Among the tragically sparse population of novels about same-sex relationships that aren't relegated to the Gay Fiction section but are allowed to rub shoulders with the rest of the mainstream and literary fiction, O'Neill's book stands a...
January 15, 2009
This very Irish novel by Jamie O'Neill was a sometimes frustrating, but ultimately wonderful book to read. The combination of a luscious prose style and interesting love story combined to provide for an enjoyable experience for this reader. The main characters came alive over the course of this l...
December 17, 2014
At its core, this is a love story. Two 16 year old boys, a college boy, Jim Mack and a laborer, Doyler Doyle, make a pact to practice swimming for a year so on Easter of 1916 (unknowingly to them a time of the Easter Rising and Irish rebellion), they will swim to a beacon of Muglins R...
May 05, 2017
4 1/2 stars
More reinforcement, if more was needed, that the 1001 list has been great for exposing me to quality current (ish) literature. Especially works by authors who wouldn't necessarily come to my attention through best seller lists or word of mouth 'in' books.
At Swim, Two Boys was a very en...