Customer Review

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Muddle muddle toil and trouble, 28 Aug 2013
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This review is from: At Swim-two-birds (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Example of two separate reviewers - the first: reviewer extraordinaire, member of the literary class, sat at home meditating the nature of reviews, text to define the nature of works wide and in English. Alcohol extends his mind to consider the humour of unreadable works. "Swim-two-birds" lies read next to him.

Reviewers- the second: Imagined reviewer being of the first, a numb skull, illiterate. Walking the streets of London trying to understand his mates and the signs and motifs around him. A shopaholic and womaniser. His name is Trellis. Annoyingly the man from "Swim-two-birds" has narrated himself into this Amazon review.

Description of the work. The basic premise (as he interpreted it) are that there are 4 narrators, the author and his uncle who tells the tale of the reviewer Trellis who is also writing a story of the bad Pooka MacPhellimey who in turn imagines John Furrisky who then imagines some mates including Finn MacCool a hero. The main subordinate characters of each set interact and ultimately at Trellis's direction his characters start to impose themselves on him. The action takes place in Ireland and has similar imaginings to Ulysses for drink, pubs, fights, loves, gangs etc. The mix very quickly becomes a confusion, a muddle. It does have the occasional poem but a couple of times actually has a synopsis summary in the text.

Biographical reminiscence, part the first: It was a decision of the reviewer to attempt a flavour of the work "At Swim" so as to write in the style of O'Brien, even though swimming on an empty review can cause cramps - perhaps Trellis can help. He enters the room and the reader's mind with MacCool. Threats of violence and awards of desirable woman are offered. Please leave. The review takes place near London.

The writing style is readable in that every sentence is English, well crafted and has short headed paragraphs/sections but very quick it does become another of those `forget the story', `enjoy the language' prose poem type books. MacCool wouldn't say it's very `comic' though it certainly has an amusing turn of phrase. The book is a mix of Ulysses, The Hive by Camilo Cela, the drinking of Hanover Square by Hamilton and the story in a story in story of Potocki's Saragossa Manuscript. The author, Trellis and I can certainly imagine the author wrote it after several drinks and let the alcohol take the story where he fancied. There is mention of a church at "Swim-two-birds" once in the text but why this was used as the book's title is unclear.

Some quotes - the first: "It is a very familiar phenomenon in literature. The elimination of conception and pregnancy, however, or the reduction of the processes to the same mysterious abstraction as that of the paternal factor in the common place case of the unexplained maternity, has been the dream of every practising psycho-eugenist the world over"

Some quotes - the second "Biographical reminiscence, part the fourth: The further obtrusion of my personal affairs at this stage is unhappily not entirely fortuitous"

Certainly an interesting read and another to add to the collection of similar (un)readable muddles of a book which if you're interested includes virtually all of Cela's, Azuela's. `Mister Fly'; Cortazar's "Hopscotch"; Infante's "Three trapped tigers"; Bastos "I the Supreme"; Faulkner's "Absalom"
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