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.


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?"

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

Books with similar mood

Gate of the Sun

Elias Khoury

A Doubter's Almanac

Ethan Canin

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Madeleine Thien

Forty Days Without Shadow

Olivier Truc

The Kills

Richard House

The Children's Book

A S Byatt

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Lionel Shriver

We That Are Young

Preti Taneja

A History of Loneliness

John Boyne

Double Vision

Tricia Sullivan

The Quiet Violence of Dreams

K Duiker

Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow

Peter Hoeg

Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile

Alice Jolly

Soul Cage

Tetsuya Honda

The Automobile Club of Egypt

Alaa Al Aswany

The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

Kim Leine

The Crooked Maid

Dan Vyleta


Murray Davies


Nicole Dennis-Benn

Bricks and Mortar

Clemens Meyer

The Dovekeepers

Alice Hoffman

A Thread of Grace

Mary Doria Russell

Maps for Lost Lovers

Nadeem Aslam

The Poisonwood Bible

Barbara Kingsolver


Sarah Waters

In the Dark

Andreas Pfluger

Learning to Lose

David Trueba

The Sun and Moon Corrupted

Philip Ball


Mia Gallagher

A Book of Science and Antiquities

Thomas Keneally

Seventh Gate

Richard Zimler

Darwin's Children

Greg Bear

Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote

Ahmadou Kourouma

The Alphabet of Birds

S J Naudé

The Dream of the Celt

Mario Vargas Llosa

Sea of Poppies

Amitav Ghosh

The Devil's Star

Jo Nesbo

Marlene Dietrich Lived Here

Eleanor Bailey

The Human Stain

Philip Roth

The Wake

Paul Kingsnorth

The Parisian

Isabella Hammad

Star of the North

D B John

The Forgetting Time

Sharon Guskin


Jason Donald

Here Comes the Sun

Nicole Dennis-Benn

Beside Myself

Ann Morgan


Javier Cercas

Mrs Lincoln

Janis Cooke Newman

The Peacock Throne

Sujit Saraf