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At Swim, Two Boys
What cheer, eh?
Forum for discussion of At Swim, Two Boys -- or anything else -- by Jamie O'Neill.
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Subject: A Videomix on Jim and Doyler that I made! Please check it out!

PhoenixFire (:))
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Date Posted: Sat, Mar 15 2014, 20:51:17 GMT

As sad and depressing (and extraordinary) as the book was, making this made me so, so happy!


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Date Posted: Sat, Mar 29 2014, 19:34:13 GMT

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Date Posted: Tue, Mar 18 2014, 7:43:57 GMT

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Date Posted: Tue, Mar 18 2014, 7:42:56 GMT

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Subject: Sequel?

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Date Posted: Sat, Jan 18 2014, 23:34:36 GMT

Has anyone updated knowledge of a sequel to 'At Swim...'?

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Subject: Why does Doyler f*ck McEmm

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Date Posted: Tue, Mar 21 2006, 19:08:38 GMT

I just wondered if anyone here had any opinions on why Doyler agreed to and indeed insisted to f*ck McEmm after Jim had left for Dublin.

Obviously the nature of a book is to allow the reader to make their own interpretations of the motives of different events, but I would be interested in the thoughts of the other members here (and of course Jamie).

I thought I saw issues of power, but I felt confusion, was this fair on Jim, was this normal or acceptable.. more in what Jim would've expected from Doyler.. maybe I'm answering my own question.. because the nature of their love was that they never expected anything of each other. And because of the world the boys lived in, defining normal and acceptable is meaningless anyway...

Obviously these gay men had few examples of a monogmomous gay relationship but doesn't genuine love assume monogomy.

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Subject: Oh to be so loved

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Date Posted: Thu, Aug 06 2009, 4:13:44 GMT

I so enjoyed the book - even with the ending, but knew it was going to end that way. If only I could find a man that would give so much of himself (any one of the three charactors) with which to build and share a life. So much easier these days to be gay, but still so difficult to find a love that warms the soul, but I remain hopeful. Thank you for your efforts in writing the story.

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Subject: Roger Casement

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Date Posted: Mon, Jul 29 2013, 19:01:03 GMT

I wonder what Jamie thinks of Mario Vargas Llosa's portrayal of Roger Casement?

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Subject: just finished

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Date Posted: Tue, Mar 19 2013, 1:43:48 GMT

I have just reached the end of the novel and all along I knew it couldnt end well. I had to stop briefly after the death of Doyler and was surprised at how little I felt: I had so grown to love Doyler as I guess everyone here does. But the chapter that follows had me in such a state that I could hardly attend choir practice this evening . . . . I have spent the entire evening googling places and people mentioned in the novel: the forty foot and the Muglins, Kingstown and Dalkey Island, the Shelbourne hotel, Casement and Pearse. While I was reading this amazing book I didnt want it ever to end. I wanted Jim, Doyler and Macem to be a part of my life for ever. Alas, now it is over but these two boys will live on in my dreams for a long long time to come. What cheer, eh?

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Subject: Arrow: Oliver Queens Showdown (a quick free game)

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Date Posted: Sat, Jun 08 2013, 21:44:32 GMT

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Subject: names

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Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14 2005, 9:51:36 GMT

I've done a second reading of all but the last 100 pages or so so far, just so things are fresh in my memory when I pick up a history of the Rising. I've noted some of the names which aren't familiar, like Shan Van Vocht. This is what they had at Bartleby.com, after a poem of that name:

"The title is literally The Poor Old Woman. This was a secret name for Ireland, like Roisin Dubh (the little Dark Rose) and Kathleen ni Houlahan (Kathleen the daughter of Houlahan). These secret names were given partly to hide what might be thought a seditious element in the utterance, and partly because of the Gaelic liking for what is esoteric and symbolic. The Shan Van Vocht is a peasant song made at the time when the Irish were expecting help from revolutionary France, in 1798."

In that same paragraph (p. 544 in my copy), Eva thinks of a Kathleen and Rosaleen. I'm guessing, in light of the above, that those were both traditional poetic names for Ireland.

Just one question, about which there's very little in the text: who is Newman? I did a Google search, and came up with a John Henry Newman, who was made cardinal of Dublin in 1879. I can't find the exact page now, but I believe it was mentioned in one of Eva and MacMurrough's drives around Dublin. Any hints as to what the reference is? Thanks!

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Subject: Annotated version question

Ernster (swimming)
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Date Posted: Sat, Apr 16 2011, 17:44:47 GMT

I've read ATSB twice and will surely read it again. It remains the closest to my heart of anything I have read. I saw a post about an annotated version in the works. If anyone has info on that could you please post it? I'll be looking here and elsewhere.

I find I can't explain to others what this book means to me. It is very personal, apparently.

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Subject: At Swim, Two Boys

Jerome McGranaghan (Deeply moved by many emotions)
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Date Posted: Fri, Feb 11 2011, 21:45:36 GMT

I am at present reading ASTW for the first time and I've just started chapter 9. I find myself resenting any interruption -- say work, cooking supper, or sleep -- that keeps me from the glorious pages of Jamie O'Neill's book. I've not felt this way about a novel for a very, very long time.So, many thanks Mr. O'Neill ! I saw in the posts someone mention 'The Charioteers by Mary Renault, which excited me, as I have thought about that book a bit while reading ASTB. I read Miss Renault's book as a teenager and could only read a few pages at a time, being overcome by emotion and tears . I am pretty much back there right now in spirit. Being of Irish Catholic stock myself, ASTB has reminded me again of all the pains and joys involved in finding one's path -- the inner battles with what the Church teaches -- what my parents taught -- while trying to find love and acceptance. Maybe I'm not articulating my feelings that well today and maybe nobody will even see this post of mine, but I just felt the need to comment and to discover what others had to say about this grand book.

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Subject: Gordie's letter

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Date Posted: Tue, Dec 28 2010, 18:54:46 GMT

Probably everybody has already noticed what follows; if so Im sorry to dwell on what is self-evident.
Ive just finished to translate Gordies letter from the Aegean sea at the beginning of Part II.
I wonder: the style if not lofty is certainly extremely accurate; the more familiar or humorous expressions are in inverted commas (breather, cabbage warmed up, doing their bit, etc); only rarely we have some navely expressed remark; Gordie though is no more than 18 y/o. Is this the sign that the letter has been revised by an officer for preventive censorship and improvement of style?
On page 343 (Scribner, 2001 HB) Gordie writes: "I will wind up now for all the boys is writing this night. The officers will be cursing for the work we put them to."
If, as I believe, the mixed-style choice is intentional, these pages are another tour-de-force, brilliant as many others in the novel (e.g. the suppressed passage with Jim and the soldier).

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Subject: The magnificents

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Date Posted: Sat, Dec 04 2010, 11:16:29 GMT

While translating ch.11, I googled *a fit of the magnificents* (p.296, Scribner HB 2001), and found the following interesting passage.

*A curious trait in the disposition of the British sailor, says the "Auckland News", was brought to light during the police office proceedings this morning. The men of a certain vessel now in harbor had been disturbed at their supper to perform certain work absolutely necessary to enable the ship to work off a lee shore, and consequently took a fit of the "magnificents" and refused to do what was required - preferring to drift quietly on the rocks, and probably to "fiddler's green", to compromising their dignity by postponing their meal. Fortunately the wind shifted and the vessel was blown off the land and into this port, where the men were duly put into "dock", whence they emerged to operate upon different rocks at Mount Eden.*

The source is given as: Inter-Provinotal Shipping. West Coast Times, Putanga 1741, 1 Haratua 1871, Page 2.

The French translation (Passage du Marais, 2005, p.312) is usually a very careful one but this time it skips the words altogether. The Italian translation (Rizzoli, 2003, p.299) is awful (bungled, slack and full of mistakes) but for once guesses correctly with "un attacco di nobile risentimento".

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Subject: Cara Macree

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Date Posted: Tue, Nov 09 2010, 19:41:27 GMT

I'm not sure what I can add to what others have said before me... Have read it twice, when on holiday in hot countries as that was the only time I actually had the time to read; the next time I hope to read it in Ireland, by the Muglins, experiencing the beauty that has inspired so many great writers.
I eagerly await another novel from Mr O'Neill, as I thoroughly enjoyed Disturbance too!

This book has a very close place in my heart.

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Subject: <3

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Date Posted: Fri, Sep 03 2010, 11:17:17 GMT

I fell in love with this book. It was the most remarkable, touching story I have ever read. O'Neill pulled me into a world where everything was different yet I felt as though I belonged - and extended my volcabularly by about a hundred words while he was at it.

I think the best quality of the books was it's characters, all of which I loved to their core despite, or perhaps because of, their faults. The ending of the story almost had me in tears, although I still found it highly satasfactory, and was unsurprised by the tragic events.

I was impossibly touched by this book, and I don't think I will ever forget it as long as I live.

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Subject: Another thank-you

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Date Posted: Mon, Aug 23 2010, 7:59:37 GMT

I just finished reading this truly extraordinary novel a couple days ago and have been unable to get it out of my head since. Simply put, it is far and beyond the best book I have ever read. Never has a work of art, literary or otherwise, connected with me on such an immensely deep level. I have trouble voicing this properly, but the novel just seems like it's part of who I am as an individual now. Of course the prose itself was simply outstanding, beautiful and just wonderful to read. The sheer weight of it was delightful and the way the words in and of themselves evoked emotions was brilliant. The characters were unlike any I've ever encountered elsewhere and I found myself not only developing some sort of a connection with them, but loving them. I truly came to care for the characters, feeling both their grief and their joy. I suppose this is part of the goal of characters, to create an emotional connection between the novel and the reader, but never have I encountered a novel that did this so well.

Moreover, as a love story, this novel is simply incomparable. I found myself yearning for many of the same things as Jim and Doyler in their relationship, myself being a gay teen. The pure affection portrayed in this relationship, by an arm over the shoulder and simple touch, was beautiful and so so real to me. This is exactly what I long for, and At Swim touched on this longing perfectly, gave voice to it even. This is probably why I found myself crying even when I put the novel down and tried to distance myself from it. I found my connection was primarily with the boys, but perhaps future readings will reveal more of a connection with MacMurrough in all of his complexity.

I took my time reading At Swim, Two Boys, about two months of slow, concentrated reading, savouring every word and re-reading many parts as I went along. Now that I've finished it I don't feel like reading anything else, I just want to pick it up and read it again. Unfortunately another semester of university awaits, which means the next reading may have to wait a few months. Regardless, this will be a novel I will read again and again and I feel that each reading will bring a new perspective on this amazing work as I bring my new experiences into this context. At the same time, I'll keep my fingers crossed for that sequel. Thank-you Jamie for this unbelievable work. It has resonated with me unlike anything else, and it's exactly what I needed at this point in my life.

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Subject: Probably a misprint 2

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Date Posted: Sat, Jul 24 2010, 20:41:38 GMT

On page 339 (Scribner HB, 2001) the quotation from St Augustine, *The Confessions*, IV.7 should read *ecce abstulisti hominem* and not *ecce abstulisti dominem* (Thou tookest that man out of this life).
Please though, don’t think of me as a pedantic Latinist.
Would it be possible to contact the guy working on the annotated version of AS,TB? I’ve filled pages of notes while reading (from the web, from Eric Linder, an English teacher in Michigan, and a few by myself) and some more now that I’m writing down my own Italian translation (at the moment drafts of chapters 1 to 4 and chapter 10). I’ve only recently received the Italian and the French translations and I haven’t yet a set opinion about them, but I’ll continue with mine in any case for sheer pleasure at the difficulties of the task and at the human and literary beauty of the text.

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Subject: Visit

W Fortuin (happy)
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Date Posted: Wed, Jul 07 2010, 10:21:59 GMT

Hi Everyone! Hi Mr. O'Neill!
Since the last post is from 2005, i don't think the forum is working anymore, nevertheless i try post something...

Bought and read the book around 2005 in Holland. As a dutch guy living in Antwerp, i as touched as the rest of the peoples here by the story.

Last week we (as in 20 motorcyclists) went to Ireland for a week and made a very nice ride through the south of Ireland! Also visit Dublin/Bray, and i took the change to visit the places (blackrock and surroudings) from the book. Being an 'openwaterswimmer', i thought on taking a try to swim to the muglins myself, but: standing there, thinking it's a hell of a swim to get there! :-) It was nice to be able to visit the described places from the book!

By the way: Ireland was unbelieveble beautifull! And the people where very nice. Can imagine that's worth fighting for...

Hope to be back once (of twice)!

Grtz Wzzl

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Subject: Probably a misprint

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Date Posted: Tue, Mar 23 2010, 12:46:50 GMT

It may be of use...
At page 454 (Scribner HB, 2001) there is most probably a misprint.
*plenum et obtabilem* should be *plenum et optabilem*: as in *coitum plenum et optabilem* (full and desirable sexual intercourse), from Petronius, *Satyricon*, 86.

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Subject: First on ASTB

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Date Posted: Thu, Feb 25 2010, 17:32:06 GMT

From Naples, Italy
I finished *At Swim, Two Boys* a few days ago. I feel the need to write about my thoughts and feelings to this forum, before starting reading it a second time.
No book since Mary Renault’s *The Charioteer* moved me so. I believe I will have Doyle, Jim and McMurrough in my heart and mind in the same way I lived years with Ralph and Laurie and still often think of them.
As I translated in Italian *The Charioteer* (still unpublished) I had great (I should say indispensable) help from the community on livejournal. So I started reading the entries at the “fortyfoot” community, but decided to post first in this “official” forum.
The lines I was unable to understand (but I was too entranced and I kept going) should amount at least to 10 of the 643 pages of my Scribner HB. I obviously need help to reach a better understanding of the novel. I’ll write down my cruces and try to solve them with the help of those who share my love for ASTB and will be kind enough to answer.
I’m not planning to translate: probably too hard a task and an Italian translation already exists (as *Due ragazzi, Dublino, il mare*; I haven’t seen it yet and is quite hard to find). I know though that, through the effort of rethinking in my own language what’s difficult in English, sometimes comes a deeper understanding.
Of the reviews not on jamieoneill.com only two are known to me. The “TLS” one (September 14, 2001 - *A broth of a book* - Keith Jeffery) is quite shallow and uninspiring. On a very different level is the “London Review of Books” one (22 May 2003 - *Pal o’ Me Heart* - David Halperin). I read years ago two books by Mr Halperin (*Before Sexuality* and *One Hundred Years of Homosexuality*, both 1990 and about the so-called Greek love) and they shaped my thinking about myself. Halperin’s review is too long and meaty to sum up, but I was startled by: “It is a sign of considerable malaise that so many gay men seem eager to find refuge from identity in romance”. One of the greatest gift I received from ATSB was exactly that the characters are not a part of the “history of sexuality”, that their desire doesn’t trap them in an identity, that they are “straight as a rush” and no “deadpan play” at all with the word. Should one send Mr Halperin back to a revision of the meaning of “male friendship” or better to his own aptly-titled *Before Sexuality*?
I hope to have, with my second reading, clearer ideas about Irish nationality as a theme in the novel. Quite difficult for someone who’s born in a much-conquered land (2400 years of foreign domination by at least eight different conquering nations).
Excuse please my Italianate English!

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Subject: Jamie O'Neill interview

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Date Posted: Fri, Aug 21 2009, 0:46:35 GMT

Not to be missed, quite an interesting interview with Mr. O'Neill. (I don't believe the link has been previously posted.)


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Subject: At Swim, forever

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Date Posted: Tue, Sep 08 2009, 14:01:25 GMT

Jamie, "Two Boys" must be the most devastatingly beautiful novel I ever read.

The language is magical, every word reaching the heart directly as if no intervention of the mind was needed (which was particularly true for all the difficult words — what my mind couldn't grasp my heart understood immediately)

I hope MacEmm arranged for Jim to be buried next to Doyler, because, when I die, I too want to be buried there —
"What love, eh?"

"Two Boys" is not a book but an unconditional gift of love,
Thank You.

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Subject: Kilbrack Question

Emma Phoenix (Emma Phoenix)
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Date Posted: Mon, Aug 03 2009, 16:48:47 GMT

I would like to know if anyone can tell me more about the novel Kilbrack and why some copies are being sold on Amazon.co.uk for 200? Are they very rare? My Dad has a copy and I've asked several booksellers and none of them have been able to help. Thanks.

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Subject: At swim two boys

Fellow longterm nightporter!
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Date Posted: Sat, Jul 04 2009, 0:46:53 GMT

I don't have an e mail address,wouldn't know how to go about getting one,doing this on my phone,it'll be a miracle if it works!'at swim two boys'is my favourite book ever,even though I've only read it once.I'm hoping the next time I read it my life will be in a better place.I'm a 40 year old gay man who has never come out to anyone or has ever had any kind of relationship.this book to me represents what true love is.I know if I read this book again I might have found some myself even if it's only managing to love myself a bit more."I think I'm going to ask for a kiss..."

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Subject: Belated reading

Larry Lingle
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Date Posted: Sat, May 02 2009, 21:54:56 GMT

It being the second day of May in the year 2009 I must be the last person to read and appreciate this fine book. For some 31 years I owned and operated gay and lesbian bookstores here in the colonies (the United States of America) but it was not until my last store failed in 2004 that I was able to begin catching up on years of readings. And had thought I had gone through my remaining library when I found my copy of AT SWIM TWO BOYS. It was worth all the years of missing same. Like some of the other comments, I was in tears at the end, not a pleasurable sight being a rusty old 72 years. An amazing literary work and i so regretted reaching the end and will treasure the hours and emotions expended.

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Subject: The Soundtrack

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Date Posted: Mon, Jun 18 2007, 22:24:07 GMT

I had the book for six months at least before I got round to reading it. I took it on summer holidays with me last year, to Suffolk, and I kind of wept off and on all the way through. Somehow I could sense from the start that Doyler is a tragic character. My partner thought I was crazy, weeping over a book. Odd, too, that Aldeburgh has a Martello tower, some kind of poetic synchronicity no doubt.
I wanted to say that I have a secret hope that if and when the film version is made, someone asks Emya to compose the score.
And I'm looking forwards to this mysterious new work that Amazon is listing for publication in September. best wishes Jamie.

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Subject: Started a couple back and finished today

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Date Posted: Sat, Jan 24 2009, 23:00:29 GMT

Thank you for writing this book.

I died a little at its end, so would you please write another for me to start and I can get back a bit of my life? Only to die again, I suspect.

Inexpressible are my thoughts about this novel but please know my inarticulateness represents something real and honest and completely unwanted, but ever so welcome.

Thank you for At Swim, Two Boys

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Subject: WOW

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Date Posted: Thu, Nov 27 2008, 19:54:28 GMT

The most wonderful, emotional, engaging, difficult, rewarding book I've ever read. I am so sad to leave the characters. My life truly is richer for having known them. I will miss them, but I take comfort in knowing that I can be with them again when I re-read and re-read this book. Words fail me as I try to describe what this book.
Thank you, Mr. O'Neill.

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Subject: Can't wait to read more.

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Date Posted: Mon, Nov 17 2008, 17:12:02 GMT

Like most (all?) others on this forum, I absolutely fell in love with this book. It was pure serendipity that I found it. At the time, I had just finished reading At Swim-Two-Birds, and was reading The Third Policeman. However, on this particular day I had left it at home, and needing something to read while waiting for my tires to be replaced, I popped into the book store. I was just browsing around when I happened to see the title of this book. How could I not at least pick it up? I'm so glad I did. What a moving, enthralling work of art.

Thank you, Mr. O'Neill.

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Subject: at swim, two boys

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Date Posted: Tue, Nov 04 2008, 21:45:56 GMT

Hello, I am Paul and I come from The Netherlands. Last summer I read this book and I'm very impressed by this gay love story. It's happens not much I get tears in my eyes by a book, but this time had it overcome me. Especially the last pages have moved me. Hopely we can expect more (translated) novels from the author. Compliments for Jamie.

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Subject: at swim two boys dance

d connor (happy)
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Date Posted: Fri, Aug 29 2008, 23:31:36 GMT

loved the dance and going on to read the book, anyone know if its still touring

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Subject: Earthfall

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Date Posted: Sun, Oct 30 2005, 17:51:44 GMT

Hi, everyone. I saw the performance last night in Glasgow! It was great, though my friend didn't really understand it, but I didn't think to lend him the book until it was too late. He has it now, though, so he'll understand it a bit better in retrospect.

I also managed to chat with the two performers a bit afterward, which was nice. I refrained from asking for the phone number of one of them, however-- it probably would have been bad form.

Congrats to the company, though, on a job well done.

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  • Re: Earthfall -- dave connor (happy saw the fit guys too), Fri, Aug 29 2008, 23:27:51 GMT
Subject: At Swim Two Boys - The Dance

Ewen Jones
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Date Posted: Sat, Nov 26 2005, 14:08:48 GMT

I've recently had the opportunity to experience "At Swim Two Boys - The Dance" and I feel that I must write to tell you how wonderful I think it is. Your work is truly inspirational to Earthfall Dance Company who performed immaculately.

Best wishes,
Ewen Jones

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Subject: Mrs Gore-Hickman

Jamie O'Neill
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Date Posted: Fri, Apr 04 2008, 23:25:34 GMT

Excuse me for using this forum this way. Someone recently sent me an email regarding Mrs Gore-Hickman. I accidentally deleted it. If who sent the email reads this, please repost. Jamie O'Neill.

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Subject: Forgiveness 2

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Date Posted: Sun, Feb 10 2008, 21:47:55 GMT

Jeesh...had me tearin' up and I'm not even Irish.

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Subject: Forgiveness

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Date Posted: Fri, Feb 08 2008, 19:25:09 GMT

Kudos on the film! Very touching


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Subject: Thank

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Date Posted: Mon, Jan 14 2008, 17:15:33 GMT

First excuse me for my bad english!

I finish this morning to read the book, or well, the italian translation. It shocked me, he awake in me a huge love. This is no a easy sentiment to awake on me, may trust me! A huge love for Jim, mkM and Ireland even I never be interested in it.... and especially for Doyler, he remembered me a person I lost years ago.
Thank you for this book.... Thank you so much. It will be with me for ever!


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Subject: When, Jamie, When?

L. Fairburn
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Date Posted: Mon, Jan 21 2008, 14:58:55 GMT

When will we get a new work from Jamie O'Neill?

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Subject: Humpteenth read

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Date Posted: Mon, Jan 07 2008, 7:07:40 GMT

It's the sleepy time of year, and I think I shall pay Jim and Doyler another visit. I like to read the book this time of year. Slowly, absorbingly. Timing the end around the beginning of Spring. It's interesting how this book, even years after having come to know it, still makes its appearences in my mind, and calls me back to its pages every now and then.

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Subject: At Swim Two Boys

Danny (Hopefull)
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Date Posted: Tue, Oct 02 2007, 13:20:48 GMT

I read this book several years ago and fell in love with it. I am still in love with it. The journey I took while reading ASTB ultimately became the catalyst in a series of positive changes in my life. I guess good things come to you just at the right time, not a minute before. I wrote Mr. O'Neill and told him what an impact his book had had on me. I wanted him to know just how much his words had filled my heart with joy and hope. It was as though someone or some thing had gently placed a hand on the back of my head and moved it just a bit so that I could look at things from a different perspective and see a new horizon.

The magic of his book stayed in my heart for about three years but somehow I've let it slip away. Shame on me. I don't know why I thought about ASTB today but I am glad I did. Perhaps it has something to do with things happening just at the right time. Who knows.. However, what I do know is that I need to read the book again. I need that "magical" hand to shift my head again so that I can regain what I felt not too long ago. Thank you Mr. O'Neill...

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Subject: Best novel read ever

Carlitox (mexican)
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Date Posted: Fri, Jul 27 2007, 3:08:41 GMT

I just found this amazing book in a shelf. I live in a very small town in central Mexico, and I found it just by chance. Oh my, I read it twice in one week, it was so touching, so heartbreaking that I couldnt help myself from crying. Thank u Jamie, thanks for this incredible gift you brougth to the world. Jim and Doyler will live forever in my heart. Promise. Pal ome heart.

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Subject: Ireland legalizes gay civil unions

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Date Posted: Thu, Jul 26 2007, 3:46:14 GMT

This was an interesting article on 265.gays Ireland set to mletgalize gay civil unions:


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Subject: I just have to join this debate....

Daniel (sad)
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Date Posted: Wed, Jul 04 2007, 0:19:10 GMT

After 4 years standing in my bookshelf collecting dust, I finally picked out this book in April, and my oh my do I regret it!
Cause any gay themed book I give a chance after this (or any love story actually) will be a dissapointment in comparison.
2 days now since I finished, I am still haunted by Jim and Doyler, and especially Doyler. His life was so unfortunate, and far too short. And yet he had such high spirits. I am a bit angry at him though, for being so militant, and leaving Jim just when Jim had started to return the admiration. I am also a bit angry at Mr. O`Neill for denying the two boys to be adults together.

I have to keep saying to myself "it is just fiction!", but my heart does not follow. Jim and Doyler will be there for the rest of my life I think.

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Subject: Not quite done, but...

Mary Salome
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Date Posted: Thu, May 24 2007, 22:48:13 GMT

I've never been so affected by a book. I can't stop thinking about it. I read it while I'm walking, I want to call in sick so I can finish it. I feel like I'm on a drug or back in my first relationship and completely messed up by the feelings. I love this book and I can't wait to be finished. I borrowed it from someone and don't think I can give it back -- I'll have to replace his copy.

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Subject: again swiming

stephan (re visiting)
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Date Posted: Sun, May 20 2007, 2:30:02 GMT

i am rereading at swim two boys, i am discovering things i missed first time around , jamie o neill has created a world that is perfect and tragic and i have lost myself totally in it over the last two months , does he realise how powerfull this work is ? i am revisiting emotions i ha as a teenager ,i was very proud of my irish parentage ,and my gayness.this story makes me feel happy,proud and sad at thhe same time its a million dreams and hopes in one, go raibh maith agat

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Subject: At Swim

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Date Posted: Thu, Feb 23 2006, 21:54:34 GMT

Found this in the library under a big gay read shelf. I quickly took it from the shelf before my mum could see where it came from and booked it out.


This book has absolutely and utterly rocked my world.
I read a lot of books and this is my number one favourite book so far, by far.
The only book I've read in the same sub genre so to speak was Line Of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst and it paled into a weak superficial tale of lust in comparison to this mighty epic story!
In my head I compare the effect this has had on me as similar to the effect that the film Brokeback Mountain had on me. With both, I continue the days after finishing it my head just filled with the story and the characters and above all the love.

At Swim is a masterpiece for the moments between Doyler and Jim. These moments make the book worth more than any other book I've read for my emotions. The love told of astounds me!
I've been looking for photos from that era and plaguing my parents for knowledge of history of that time (I'm 18 and have a tenuous grip on history!), because the writing of the book and it's setting has lasted so much.
I drew parralells from the book to my life. I love a Doyler in real life, but it is unrequited, I feel so jealous to be denied the happiness of Jim and Doyler, but their exchanges are so heartwarming I don't care.
I recently started a graphic design project which I interpreted as "street poetry" - I've typewritten favourite quotes onto paper and photographed them outside. The quotes just for me have such power!

"Can I kiss you now?"
"you know better than to ask"
"why wouldn't I ask?"
"you know you can kiss me"
"i'll kiss you all over"

go to the links here to see photos of the quotes:






and above my desk at uni/college I have made a collage of elements of the novel - you see how obsessed I am with this!

If the book is nearing a re-edition and you need someone to do some illustrations/design for the front cover, it would be a dream come true for me to create an image for one of the best books I have ever read!

I have so many favourite quotes, too many to write here. My favourite moments must include the pair's reuniting - the evening meal, eyes meeting, sleeping in the bed, and on muglin's rock - the pinnacle of their relationship.

I just loved this book and have fallen in love with the love of Jim and Doyler if that makes sense?
Wonderful writing, amazing literature.

"Thats how I think of you. That's exactly how I think of you"

anyone email me if you liked the pictures or anything

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Subject: at swim

stephan (still amazed)
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Date Posted: Thu, Apr 26 2007, 18:54:06 GMT

i dont think i expressed myself very well ,i was emotional and i had just finished reading the book, i didnt want it to end at all and as i said i wanted the perfect ending for jim ,because i saw a part of him inside myself,this is a very important work of art.little sayings reminded me very much of things my grandmother used to say and what with the tragic end it was a rollercoaster of emotion for me .i can say this is the best book i have ever read,the characters ,i fell in love with them and as i said could picture them so vividly ,once again i feel so happy i have read this book and i will treasure the first time i read it. stephan

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Subject: at swim

stephan (amazed)
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Date Posted: Thu, Apr 26 2007, 0:06:01 GMT

this is the most amazing book i ever read i wa s weeping at the end, i wanted so much for a happy ending for jim, maybe because there was a piece of me in him, wanting love ,purely etc.i was deeply moved, im a jazz singer and use emotions to tap into when singing this book has inspired me ,i beleived in the characters and could visualize them so vividly,i have never read a book that touched me so . thank you from the bottom of my heart, stephan

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Subject: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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Date Posted: Wed, Nov 29 2006, 1:33:47 GMT

I'm half way through this amazing novel! So much like ASTB but different too. My heart aches for Hassan...

"For you, a thousand times..."

Not as lyrical as ASTB but the STORY...astonishing and heartbreaking.

Anyone else???

If you haven't read it, please do.

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Subject: fourth time round

q@f (admiring)
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Date Posted: Sun, Feb 11 2007, 5:34:43 GMT

Dear Mr. O'Neill
Because I am a fairly careful reader, my continuing, on this my fourth reading, to discover/rediscover in At Swim Two Boys many things to amuse, delight, and deeply move me only goes to prove that yours is one helluva book.
Thanks again.

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Subject: MacEmm

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Date Posted: Mon, Feb 26 2007, 23:25:24 GMT

Dear Jamie O'Neill and all,
I have just finished ASTB. I too was enthralled by the book, which a friend gave me last fall with an ironbound guarantee that I would adore it as he had. I too devoured the book, then stopped for what I feared (rightly) would be a tragedy at the end. Yet perhaps because I am 40, and have already known love and idealism, I find myself drawn more and more to MacEmm. He is, I think, the most complex character, and the one who changes most. He goes from bitterness and humiliation to a sense of purpose, and even to imagining a proud Gay identity. He is the man redeemed by love, an unselfish love for a man whom Cyrano-like, he wins for another. It is MacEmm who is rewarded, because with Doyler's fate, he is the one who gets to have his beloved, even if he knows he can never be the true love of Jim's life. I am put in mind of Mary Renault's THE CHARIOTEER, where Laurie Odell, a wounded soldier, is torn between an ideal, chaste love and a worldly one--and eventually takes the latter. But then, I would wonder whether Jim and Doyler, had he survived, would have been able to stay together.

One thing that does not satisfy me is that in all the references to Casement, including Evelina's praise of him as the only man she ever loved, there is no mention of his own Gay life, which would lead him to be renounced by the Irish for whom he gave his all. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop--perhaps by MacEmm, with his private information from his London days, deciding not to mention the rumors.

I hope you know, Jamie O'Neill, how much your work means to all us readers. I have one other point upon which I hope you can enlighten me.

I was touched by the scene of the man raising his hat as Jim and MacEmm and the other prisoners are being exposed to public abuse. Yes, MacEmm compares it to Wilde (where Robert Ross publicly defied the crowd by paying homage). Are we supposed to know who this is? Is it Mr. Mack?

I had to wonder, Jamie, if you had read Mary Renault's THE CHARIOTEER, in which Laurie Odell has to choose between an ideal and chaste love or a human one, and ultimately settles for the latter.

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  • Re: MacEmm -- Greg (abashed), Tue, Feb 27 2007, 4:35:53 GMT
Subject: Updates

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Date Posted: Sat, Feb 17 2007, 3:27:50 GMT

Just wondering, any updates on a sequel or a move?

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Subject: work in progress? date of publication?

pascale mcgarry (hopeful)
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Date Posted: Wed, Jan 17 2007, 17:43:47 GMT

Dear Jamie,

A regular Seapoint swimmer, I've just re-read At Swim,two Boys with such pleasure and admiration.
I'm wondering when your next work(novel?)will be published.

Bon courage et bonne chance!

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Subject: Invented discussion

Jamie O'Neill
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Date Posted: Thu, Apr 27 2006, 23:08:54 GMT

I've had this idea which I think might be fun. Instead of discussing a published book, let's discuss something entirely invented. Let us say there is a book; it is called The Book; let us say some of us have read it. Now we shall discuss.

If you like, I'll begin.

Personally, I didn't believe a word of McGurk. I know he only appeared in half a paragraph, and that paragraph was hardly pivotal: but still, you only have to look at Vera. She knew all about the scheme, from the very beginning, if you ask me.

"If nobody replies to this, I shall commit suicide". But why Vera should be suicidal, I really don't know. "Vera" means truth, of course. But can the truth die?

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Subject: the ending

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Date Posted: Wed, Aug 02 2006, 22:59:44 GMT

I'm not sure this forum is still active, considering the last post was 2005, but I just came across At Swim and read it, and I need to say some things about the ending (so if you haven't read the book or aren't finished, DON'T READ THIS!).
I've never been more depressed by an ending. I think it has to do with how flawlessly real the characters were. I fell in love with Jim and Doyler, and it hurts so much that they died. I just finished the book last evening. I don't know, it seems ridiculous writing this because I'm sure everyone felt awful after the ending, but right now I am so depressed about it I'm looking for ways to overcome this feeling.
Surprisingly what hurts the most is the last sentence, when Doyler says "What cheer, eh?" again. I wish I could take solace in that and convince myself that they were reunited in some way after they died, but I can't. I'm not sure if that was what the end was saying, but I hoped it was. I realize they're fictional, but it doesn't change things in this case.
If anyone has any thoughts on this or they felt the same way, then I'd love to hear about it.

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Subject: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Date Posted: Sat, Nov 25 2006, 18:56:06 GMT

Has anyone read this? I just finished yesterday and, just like ASTB, I wept at the end. Just as with Doyler, Jim, McM and the characters of ASTB I already miss Charlie, Sam and Patrick.

It's a great book...but not sure if it will stand the proverbial test of time. Far too many pop culture references.

But there are moments that really shine...

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Subject: The ending takes time to accept

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Date Posted: Fri, Nov 10 2006, 23:02:26 GMT

Hi. To all those who are depressed by the ending, as I was for days and days, and then some more, let me illuminate some stuff which you may or may not have realized. After reading the book again and reading some of Jamie O'Neil's comments on this forum, I realize that at the end of the book the two boys meet again. After Doyler's death, Jim goes on to be a soldier who is often visited by Doyler in his dreams, but at the end of his dreams Doyler walks away, just as Jim's brother did earlier in the novel. When at the end of the book Jim "lay broken and fevered" and eventually died in MacEmm's arms, he sees Doyler once more, and this time Doyler doesn't walk away. To me, this means that Jim and Doyler meet in the afterlife, and Doyler's "What cheer, eh?" is a new beginning for these lovers. I believe that true love can survive even death, and that all parted lovers, if they love enough, will meet in the afterlife. Love is the strongest force, and if you believe in it enough, it can survive anything. That's what I believe anyway.

For me, I see Jim and Doyler living in the afterlife in a nice little cabin on an island somewhere where they can swim when they want to, and make love all day if they want to, and Jim can finally feel the warmth of Doyler as he holds him in the candlight without the fear of others ruining their love. And MacEmm will visit them too, one day.

Once again, and many more too, thank you Jamie for such a beautiful story of beautiful boys at swim and at love.

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Subject: The day after

Gino (Lost for words)
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Date Posted: Sun, Oct 29 2006, 20:40:09 GMT

Hello, all of you.

Sorry to use up some space here again but I couldn't resist any longer.
Because I was lost for words yesterday only just finished At Swim, Two Boys, I only left a short message here, now I would like to do it a bit more properly :-)

As so many others I was in a terrible state when I finished the book,tears and all, and still I can't get it all out of my head and heart,but then again, do I really want that?

I came here right after reading the book, because I couldn't handle it on my own that moment, thinking to myself, 'Idiot, it's just a book'.
So you can imagine I was very happy to find out I wasn't alone, feeling really low, being in pain and tears,... that it was not JUST a book.

Yesterday I also couldn't understand why people did read it again and again, even wanting a sequel.
Was feeling all this pain for once then not enough?

Today, no it is not enough because it won't take very long before I also will read it all over again, probably in my own language now, Flemish/Dutch, so I will be able to understand it even more, I hope :-)
And I cerntainly look forward to that sequel as well.
I know I fear the pain, but I know I will not be able to stop myself to read it again, and again, and again ...

I tried to explain my feelings to my best friend about the book and what it did to me, no, it's not a Jim or Doyle, as I'm still looking for MY COUNTRY.
But it's hard to explain, I hope he'll read the book also one day, cause only then he will understand how I feel now.

And it must be said, it's not only sad, 'Making a donkey of yourself' is such a funny expression, never heard that before, I was really 'LOL' laughing out loud with that.

One of the most powerfull feelings I got in the book, bar the passages when Jim and Doyle's bodies finally meet and when Doyle get's killed, is when Jim openly declares his love to MacEmm...

Don't you know when you love someone you don't need to do anything at all?

Just look him in the eyes and smile.

When they hold eachother so tightly after that, MacEmm almost pulling Jim's hair out I thought my heart would burst because it is so powerfull, it was like I was holding Jim in my arms myself.
Didn't I wish *Grin*

Anyway, I could go on like this forever I fear, and I don't think that would be very wise, cause I might make a donkey of myself, if I didn't already :-)

Rest me to say...
Jamie, my deepest respect to you!
You must have worked very hard on this book, 10 years I did understand, we probably have no idea at all...
I will treasure this book the rest of my life, I may hope it's a long one,and yours too!
And hopefully I find myself a nice country of my own too one day!

Best wishes to you, Jamie, and to you all!


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Subject: WOW

David Williams (In Awe)
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Date Posted: Fri, Jul 28 2006, 0:15:46 GMT

I haven't cried since starting Boarding School five years ago. Crying would be a weakness that would instantly destroy you in such a heavily masculin enviroment. At Swim Two Boys broke the dam within me. My tears were probably more for the love I feel and cannot express.

I had to remove the book of its cover in order to read it. Perhaps the most pathetic act I have ever degraded myself too. Disembowling an object of beauty in order to save my own skin. So sad.

It seems there are beacons of hope it seems, only that we must reach out to them.

Thankyou. I had to communicate this somewhere, I am sorry for your time.

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  • Re: WOW -- E.C., Wed, Aug 02 2006, 14:04:28 GMT
  • Re: WOW -- adam, Tue, Aug 29 2006, 9:43:14 GMT
Subject: follow-up

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Date Posted: Thu, Aug 03 2006, 2:32:33 GMT

Well, the worst of it passed, although I'm still heart broken. It took a lot of writing then a walk in the woods and, in those woods, escaping some pervert who was following me. Ah, life.

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Subject: Book Recommendations

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Date Posted: Sun, May 30 2004, 9:19:06 GMT

OK - 2 posts in 1 day. It will be the last, BUT I thought, hey, if everyone on here loves At Swim, then what other books would you recommend, and what are you reading now?

I'll kick off. I would recommend:

1 Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden - a beautiful evocation of a lost world, and;

2 Life of Pi, by Yann Martell - you seen everyone of the tube reading it - it's excellent

I am currently reading You Shall Know Our Velocity, by Dave Eggers. Only got to page 40 and it's shaping up well.



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Subject: It works!

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Date Posted: Sat, May 22 2004, 15:12:27 GMT

It works! Maybe it was a temporary glitch on my part, not being able to access the forum. Now I can use those handguns and grenades, though I'm sure I won't have to. I'm so glad there's a forum on here now. I'm sad to say, Jamie, but you might see me here more often than you might wish. I don't actually have much to say at the moment... so I'll just wish you a nice weekend. :)

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Subject: Anoying Adds

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Date Posted: Sun, Jun 25 2006, 20:38:15 GMT

Does anyone know how to get rid of these anoying medicine adds. They are spoiling this forum. If anyone does please advise how.

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Subject: A moving song for me

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Date Posted: Fri, Jun 16 2006, 8:35:33 GMT

Perhaps those of you (ahem Jaime lol) with a bit more knowledge of things Irish could help me out a tad. The Gaelic chorus of the song "Siuil A Run" has always, always, reminded me of the epilouge of At Swim, Two Boys when Jim talks of seeing Doyler walk away in his dreams. And then I heard that "Siuil A Run" actually means "walk my love." Is this true? How ironic if I put the two together beforehand. Perhaps it's some leftover, inborn knowledge tied to my ancestral Irish heritage, which survives in some strength in the hollows of Appalachia where I reside. Just wondering.

A True Blue "At Swimmer,"


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Subject: alexis stamatis

alexis stamatis
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Date Posted: Wed, Jun 14 2006, 13:29:26 GMT

Hi Jamie! remember me from Australia? The Greek writer? How are you man? I am trying to reach you in vain. If you want please send a mail.

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Subject: Film adaptation of At Swim

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Date Posted: Fri, May 19 2006, 16:53:29 GMT

I sent this via email already via the website but thought I'd post it here too.
Could let me know whether there is still to be a film adaptation of the novel please?

I love the complexity of the novel: so much so that I have been studying it for my MA by Research in English using Jungian Literary Theory and Jung's ideas on the 'other'. It would be interesting to see how the book is adapted to film. I could not get to see the dance performance as I do not think it came to London.

Many thanks.
Coleen Hatcher

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Subject: Any news on sequel?

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Date Posted: Sat, May 13 2006, 13:27:48 GMT

This is the best book I have ever read. Only just discovered it but have been in Brunei for nearly 4 years. I felt bereaved by Doyler's death - it was such a totally physical feeling that I felt emotionally drained. No-one to talk to about it either. The website and all the previous discussions helped me to grieve. In search of solace I put on Van Morrison's Moondance ( vinyl + scratches) - Into the Mystic suited my mood exactly and I sobbed like a baby.
I am desperate for the sequel to the book. Any update?

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Subject: sacred and of thebes...historical sites

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Date Posted: Fri, May 05 2006, 3:29:38 GMT

I'm a gay guy...history major, physics; new to history of the Sacred Band. I was in ROTC; thought about West Point; I love my country. But I am gay...can anyone give me info about guys like me, Sacred Band. Thanks.

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Subject: Sacred Band of Thebes

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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 01 2004, 4:11:02 GMT

Doyler brought up a good point in the book. What happened when one of a pair in the Sacred Band of Thebes died in battle? I would imagine the other half would either go on fighting, or kill himself on the battlefield. I tried Googling it but found nothing, so I figured this is the best place to ask.

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Subject: The Next Work

Nick Steward
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Date Posted: Sun, Apr 10 2005, 14:06:30 GMT

I too thoroughly enjoyed reading ASTB. Like for many of your readers, your book touched a personal nerve. The ending is haunting, and the theme of love between two boys is - for me anyway - butterflies-in-the-stomach touching.

Anyway, three questions -

1. Will there be a sequel to ASTB?
2. Any plans for a film version?
3. Are you planning a further work on the same theme (of boys in love, as opposed to the backdrop of the Easter Rising)?

Take care.

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Subject: Morrissey

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Date Posted: Sat, Mar 18 2006, 13:07:26 GMT

I made a discovery when I opened ASTB this morning at a random page (which I am want to do - amongst my friends we simply refer to 'the book', such is its importance). Anyway, here goes:

Morrissey - Come Back to Camden (2004)

"Your leg came to rest against mine, Then you lounged with knees up and apart
And me and my heart, we knew, We just knew, For evermore"

Jamie O'Neill, At Swim, Two Boys

p316: The notion hadn't formed before Doyler's leg came to rest
against his own.
p311: He lay back, chewing on grass. The way he lounged he had his
knees up and wide apart.

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Subject: The unused extract (Jim on the pier)

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Date Posted: Sun, Feb 26 2006, 20:58:30 GMT

Sorry for yet another message, but I looked through every post on here and I haven't found a mention or opinion of the unused extract involving Jim and the soldier on the pier, that I read on the site.

Have you all read it? What did you think of it?

I think that the way it was written in the book was very powerful - the narrative tailing off leaving the image of a lit ciggarette seemed to me to be a "mature" depiction of the scene, echoing Jim's recent personality development, in that it highlighted Jim's independence.

I wonder if the extract had been included in the book, that it would have made his first time with Doyler a little less powerful (I read the extract on the site before I came to that point in the book anyway, so it was in the back of my mind at Muglins in the book.) It would have been lovely if Jim and Doyler had first been with each other, don't you think?

What are everyone's thoughts?

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Subject: At Swim playlist

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Date Posted: Thu, Feb 23 2006, 22:32:32 GMT

I also just read a post about a song that reminded a reader (sorry I can't find the author of the post now of the book. I just downloaded the track, and I made a playlist on iTunes for when I was reading the book.
You've got to match the music with the story, you know? Makes it so much more powerful. Of course now I hear the song and it makes me want to cry with how much it's tied up with the story.

Here's the songs on it:
Coldplay - Swallowed In The Sea ("you belong with me / not swallowed in the sea" - reminds me of the dream at the end)
Coldplay - Kingdom Come (the lyrics seem to echo the idea of Jim following Doyler, after he's died, to wherever he is)
Damien Rice - Cold Water
Damien Rice - Eskimo (for the theme of frienship and the singing)
David Gray - The One I Love (a lovely, upbeat love song)
David Gray - Slow Motion
David Gray - From Here You Can Almost See The Sea
David Gray - If Your Love Is Real (the lyrics - "Spent a long time now persuadiing myself
That I dont need no one
Nobody else
That Id felt all there was to feel
I know if I should live one hundred years
Id never see another face like yours
On stranger seas or brighter shores
cause I know
That my love is real")
David Gray - This Year's Love (I loved the year's time scale - but am I correct in this? The time scale confused me. I think it happened over a year, starting in early spring and ending obviously at easter? Aside from that it's a beautiful song)
David Gray - Nightblindess
The Smiths - Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want (just because of the longing in the voice...)
Colin Hay - I Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You ("Your face it dances and it haunts me
Your laughter's still ringing in my ears
I still find pieces of your presence here
Even after all these years")
Howie Day - Perfect Time Of Day
Ian Broudie - Whenever I Do ("I held you tight
Tight in these arms
Dear then you said goodbye
Now you're not here")

Sorry if those songs are considered 'dull' or not to everyone's tastes... they're just the ones that seemed to sum up for me the sadness imbued in much of the writing, or the melancholy tone of the setting, the weather, and the circumstances.

Anyone else have a song they listened to or associated with reading the book?

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Subject: Young readers

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Date Posted: Tue, Aug 16 2005, 21:00:58 GMT

Dear Jamie
I bought ASTB with book tokens that I won for being the best in my school at religious studies, it's really because I'm the only catholic at school and my dad's a deacon. I don't know why- I just thought that was kind of funny.The book is poetic and brilliant and bittersweet, and I'm not sure if thats allways brilliant but I certainly thought it was and also very witty (especially the bit when MacEmm kissed the man whose life he had just saved and of course how can aunt Eva's reaction fail to warm your heart).

Its quite funny as well, or it might be, that I got bored halfway through Ulle...sy..es (sorry but my spelling really can be atrocious sometimes),(well not bored, but stream of conciousness can be heavy on a fifteen year old's brain) and started reading At swim.

To be honest I haven't quite finished it yet, I'm still at the Muglins (I know I know) but I need to read the end all in one go. Jamie you must hate people like me but I read the last few pages before I started the beginning so that I could spend the longevity of the book preparing myself for Doyler's Death.

The book really is inspiring, I'm serious, because Im saving up to by a flute (at my age, peripatetic lessons are free now at school so Im taking up all the instruments I can).

I'm quarter Irish and Im so proud of that now that I feel like my hearts going to burst. My greatist regret is that I didn't write about the uprising for my Irish Coursework because after reading ASTB I could made the work come alive. Instead I wrote about the Battle of the Boyne and the Great famine.

Theres only six people in my history class and now I feel like we're the elite at school because we are literally the only people (at school)(Ireland isn't taught untill upper school) who know the difference between Unionists and Nationalists for example. Its an English school and now I can't help thinking that everyone else is so ignorant and I would happilly share At Swim with all my friends who would understand it, the six of them of course, but I'v allready shared other gay themed books with them and I can't really afford to now. Theyr'e not wrong in their assumptions about me but I feel so pathetic without a boyfriend that I'm waiting 'till i've found one to tell them that i'm gay (at the moment) and give them ASTB to make them all a lot more open minded but I can't yet and that' quite painful.

Did you have similar experiences at school? Was it a catholic school you went to? I'm going to one to do my A-levels and I can't wait.

Did you ever meet anyone like jim or doyler at school? If so then I can live in hope yet. But I think that all the people that beautiful are now dead.

The only question I really want to ask is that did you know you had readers this young (15)? I couldn't help thinking that when I picked up the book it would have some sort of age restriction and that the embarassed shopkeeper would send me away. I'v been reading the book on the beach and when friends mums would ask what it was about I would tell them i'd bought it to learn about the easter rising but when they'd asked to read the blurb i would shriek and run away catching the brick of a book to my chest. Honestly, why does the blurb have to have mentions of scandalous nude...

I really have fully understood the book so far (we found out that the romans were gay in English doing julius caeser by shakespeare)and thankyou so much for writing it.

Oh I do have one more question, are english lessons called engligh lessons or Irish lessons in Ireland?

Frankie (15) Norfolk, England.

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Subject: losing Doyle

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Date Posted: Thu, Feb 16 2006, 8:54:34 GMT

There's a song by Sarah McLachlan that, for me, may describe how Jim felt those years after Doyle died. I wanted to say "after losing Doyle," but it wouldn't be right for obvious reasons.

The song:

"Do What You Have To Do"

What ravages of spirit
conjured this temptuous rage
created you a monster
broken by the rules of love
and fate has lead you through it
you do what you have to do
and fate has led you through it
you do what you have to do ...

and I have the sense to recognize that
I don't know how to let you go
every moment marked
with apparitions of your soul
I'm ever swiftly moving
trying to escape this desire
the yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
the yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
but I have the sense to recognize

that I don't know how
to let you go
I don't know how
to let you go

a glowing ember
burning hot
burning slow
deep within I'm shaken by the violence
of existing for only you

I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do
I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do
and I have sense to recognize but
I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go

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Subject: theme

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Date Posted: Thu, Feb 16 2006, 7:51:32 GMT

Mr. O'Neill,

What would you say are some themes of the book, and out of those themes, which would you say is the most important?

All the best,


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Subject: What Cheer, Eh

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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 28 2005, 17:24:43 GMT

I wish this forum was not so dead. : /
but there has been talk about two things that peak my interest, 1. being a sequel, which I do hope makes it though, I would love to hear about Jim again, and as I write I am hunted with a teary eye for that of Doyler, which I feel I must have fallen in love with( heh)

2.A Movie, this excites me so from the much talk and good will of Ang Lee's film Brokeback Mountain which was a masterpiece of cinematic art. You're book would translate so well to film, and I would hope be treated with such artful master as BBM. I hope that these plans are in the works.

I keep thanking you Mr. O'neill for writing such a book that it moves my very heart. And in hope for I am barely 18 that I will find a Doyler to my Jim.
much love and cheer

-Scott McKelvey

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  • Sequel? -- Andrew Russell, Sun, Jan 08 2006, 22:58:24 GMT
Subject: As angels

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Date Posted: Tue, Jan 24 2006, 2:14:28 GMT

Interesting how you mention the line "For we live as angels among the sodomites." It struck as being so poetic, and that paragraph is one of my favorites from the entire book (and it isn't easy to pick a favorite from At Swim! lol). I love the transformation
O'Neill makes here, turning the age-old story on its
head. As a boy growing up in a religious household, I
think it effected me immensely. It also inspired a
poem of mine. Hope the forum enjoys :

As Angels in Sodom
Inspired by Mr. Jamie O Neills Novel, At Swim, Two

We hide in our cloaks
Pressed tight to our chests-
Angels are game in the dark streets of Sodom

He foams forth his words
Her teeth clenched in hate-
Can we survive the brimstone of Sodom

And every black day
An Angel is found-
Blinded men dwell in the city of Sodom.

For Rarely an angel
Can find a Lots house-
How do we leave this city of Sodom

So I wait for the fire
From mans hands to fall-
Damnation is sure in the city of Sodom

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Subject: Quote from ASTB

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Date Posted: Thu, Dec 15 2005, 2:03:17 GMT

I am desparately looking for a line fromASTB....I've looiked all night & cant find it....I know it's there...something like:

"We are angels among the sodomites.."

Can anyone help?

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