12 April 2006

At Swim-Two-Birds

My book club read At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien. We had our last @S-2-B meeting last night.

When we were reading Under the Volcano I stated that I was probably going to choose something more comedic. A few days later, Time magazine comes out with its 100 greatest novels list.

Lev Grossman noted that Dylan Thomas had said that @S-2-B "is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl." When I saw that blurb, I was intrigued enough to put it on my shortlist and subsequently have decided to select it.

I had thought that because this book is not particularly long that there would be three meetings. However, @S-2-B is not divided into chapters. Chapter I is the whole book; however, O'Brien provided some convenient stopping places. One problem I found out with the book that rereading is often necessary.

I had hoped that the last meeting would be on April 1, so that we could raise some pints in honor of the author on the fortieth anniversary of his death. However, with us being busy people meant that the proposed schedule didn't turn out to be as I had planned. That's ok. Plans go awry. I liked the romantic notion of toasting the author on the anniversary of his death. It didn't happen, but that's life.

Some things that came up in the course of reading @S-2-B. One question that came up was "Who is Finn MacCool?" Finn is a character in the book. And as also noted, he also appears in Finnegans Wake. Hopefully, the link will help shed a little light about Finn MacCool. King Sweeney also was a character.

In the course of doing some research, I found out about a German language movie version of @S-2-B. You can find out more about In Schwimmen-zwei-Vögel at the film company's website.

Incidentally, I also found out that Brendan Gleeson had recently said in an interview that he is adapting the book as a screenplay.

At the Edison Walthall bar, we had a good meeting. The conversation was great. Cotton was tending the bar, and there was a run on Bass by many of the PBCS. There were still some things that needed to be cleared up. First, the Greek phrase at the beginning of @S-2-B is a quote from Euripides' "The Madness of Hercules."

All things pass and give way to one another.

Fortunately Dylan, who has a minor in Latin, was a big help today in translating.

As previously mentioned I chose @S-2-B thanks largely to Dylan Thomas's blurb. I had said I wanted to choose something different.

It's certainly a different book. It's playful. The way O'Brien writes. I couldn't help but laugh.

One final thought, and something that came up in conversation last night... Trellis' final pondering: Ars est celare artem.

True art is to conceal art.

As far as the possible pun is concerned, just consider what Trellis was doing at the time...


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