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 Topic: "At Swim Two Boys" by Jamie O'Neill

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Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 6
Interests: art, literature, live theatre, cinema. Graphic artist by trade, also the video reviewer for Buffalo's free monthly gay newspaper. Also like to draw, paint and write. In 15 year relationship with my partner Andy
Physical Location: Buffalo, NY

Posted: 23 Nov 2003, 11:29 pm    Post subject: "At Swim Two Boys" by Jamie O'Neill Reply with quote

"At Swim Two Boys" by Jamie O'Neill is an amazing gay themed Joycean historical Irish novel. This is a book with gay characters - and gay sex - that is actually literature. I studied James Joyce in college and am in a "Ulysses" reading group that meets at one of the theatres here in Buffalo. Someone in the group (straight) told me about the book and raved about it. The book is told very much in the style of the early chapters of Joyce's "Ulysses," and it takes place in 1915 the year before the Easter Rebellion and concerns two 16 year old boys who live outside of Dublin; Jim Mack and his friend Doyler who teaches him to swim in the sea at this bathing spot, The Forty Foot, and they pledge to swim out to this far-off island the following Easter and claim it for Ireland. They also fall in love. "Pal 'o me heart," Doyler always calls Jim.

This is an incredible book. It's not a light read, but what a companion this book was to my "Ulysses" reading group... I want to make it clear, this is not one of those movie-of-the-week style coming out stories. This one is quite gritty, but still a bit magical as they talk about stuff like ancient Sparta. The book uses Joycean interior monolgues, often short clipped sentences to convey someone's thought, and rich early-"Ulysses"-like prose, no facts spoon-fed to you. You get use to the style pretty quick though. I have never read this book reviewed in The Advocate or offered in any of the gay book clubs I see. It's a recent book, 2000. Took O'Neill ten years to write it. this is actually gay LITERATURE and I always seen reviews for the fluffy stuff.

Anyone looking for an adventurous read, check this one out.
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