At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill

At Swim, Two Boys

Jamie O'Neill

Beautifully drawn characters and a great sense of time and place encourage the reader to tackle the sometimes difficult language, but the Irish tempo soon estabishes itself in your mind. A moving read that will remain with you long after the last page is read.

Extract

Doyler rubbed his bread with onion, then lay on his belly at the turn of ther battery wall. He was watching the peelers at their swim. "The crawl is best for speed right enough. But the breast has its uses. You're head up with the breast, can always see your way, even when the water would be littered. Muck or wreckage, never know what would be in the water. See the way them horneys does the breast? Only way to swim if you're undere a heavy pack or you has your rifle you need to keep it dry. Soundless too if it's sneaking up you want. Don't knock the breaststroke, for in war it has its uses. Speed's not everything in war"
"Who's talking about war?" said Jim
A cock of disbelief in Doyler's face.
"Is there anyone who isn't?" he dribbled spit over the ledge, then turned from the cove.
"You know they calls this the Forty Foot?"

Parallels
  • Ullysses by James Joyce
  • The Folding Star by Alan Hollinghurst
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Violence