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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.
back to Jamie O'Neill's homepage

Subject: As angels


Author:
Jon
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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 Oí Neillís Novel, At Swim, Two
Boys

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 Lotís house-
How do we leave this city of Sodom

So I wait for the fire
From manís hands to fall-
Damnation is sure in the city of Sodom
Subject: Quote from ASTB


Author:
EC
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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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Subject: a letter from Poland - it's done


Author:
slonku
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Date Posted: Fri, Jan 20 2006, 9:50:24 GMT

I called the publishing house in Poland and they will exchange my book. Sorry for interrupting...
Subject: a letter from Poland - errata


Author:
slonku
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Date Posted: Thu, Jan 19 2006, 16:18:40 GMT

I've written chapter 19 by a mistake. I ment 9. Sorry
Subject: a letter from Poland - errata


Author:
slonku
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Date Posted: Thu, Jan 19 2006, 16:15:27 GMT

I ment the chapter 9, I've written 19 by a mistake, sorry
Subject: a letter from Poland


Author:
slonku
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Date Posted: Thu, Jan 19 2006, 14:56:19 GMT

Dear sir

I am not going to write a long letter, because my english is not so fluent. I'm reading "at swim, two boys" and I think it is very touching. Unfortunatelly in polish version there are missing pages number 177 -192 (from chapter 19). If you can be so nice to send my the chapter 19 (in english is fine, I hope the chapter's numbers are the same) I will be able to read the missing part. I'm very curious the part I am missing. I add my e-mail address.
However I'll try also to contact the polish publishin house, but they didn't add the webside or e-mail adress...

Sincerely,
slonku
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Subject: It's May 5.


Author:
Liz
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Date Posted: Thu, May 05 2005, 16:42:23 GMT

This means one thing: it's Jim's birthday. Yes, it's probably very pathetic that I like celebrating a fictional character's birthday, but it's Jim, and not to even mention it here would be sad, too. So, Happy Birthday to Jim.

Aww...Jim...

-Liz
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Subject: Wonderful, wonderful book


Author:
Carolina Svensson
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Date Posted: Tue, Nov 29 2005, 15:51:06 GMT

Dear Jamie O'Neill,
I finished reading At Swim, Two Boys a few minutes ago, and I just want to tell you how much I love it. You make your characters so real, I feel like I know them now. There were so many feelings I could relate to; the freedom of the sea, falling in love for the first time, how nice it is to share your extremely narrow bed with someone you like.
This is the third book I ever read that made me cry (I'm still crying), and I read quite a lot of books. It's without doubt one of my favorites, a beautiful and bittersweet story that I won't ever forget.

Carolina (18), Gothenburg, Sweden.
Subject: Thank you


Author:
E Keane
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Date Posted: Sun, Nov 20 2005, 11:14:11 GMT

Jamie,

Thank you for a beautiful story and a wonderful book in At Swim Two Boys. I really look forward to reading it again as soon as my eyes are dry.

With many thanks,
Eamon Keane
Subject: You Book


Author:
Josef
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Date Posted: Thu, Oct 20 2005, 9:25:35 GMT

I am Josef in Budapest and I red you book bekas my unkle from Dublin, he cum and give me you book. Words in book for me is very hard but I think you is nis man. Everything is very hard. When my unkle cum he say poweration of things. My unkle say there is dance too. I am in army in Hungary and is very dificilt to be gay man in army. Boys in you book is in army too and they is gay mans. I like you book and when I cum in Dublin maybe I meet you. If you cum in Budapest my unkle will say you where I am. Now I red more and so does my unkle. Today is birtday so I give him big surprize.
Goodbye,
Josef.
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  • Re: You Book -- Jamie O'Neill, Thu, Nov 03 2005, 20:42:02 GMT
Subject: NEW ORKUT COMMUNITY


Author:
Felipe B.
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Date Posted: Sun, Oct 09 2005, 17:58:36 GMT

i've created an orkut community to discuss the book, please go to: http://www.orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=5639772
Subject: Next Book


Author:
Ross
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Date Posted: Tue, Sep 27 2005, 19:01:49 GMT

Jamie,
Amazon have an, as yet, untitled book listed for March 31st 2006 under your name. Do you have any information on this. Best regards Ross
Subject: Just Some Questions


Author:
Vonnie
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Date Posted: Thu, May 27 2004, 23:05:39 GMT

Hi Jamie,

As you may have guessed, I'm a friend of Liz's. (Is anyone here not?) I decided to say a proper hello, and while I'm at it, ask a couple of questions. I might answer them myself, but still I ask.

First. Why the sad ending? Was it a conscious decision or did it just feel right? I'm a hopeless happy-ending buff, though I really appreciate that a sad ending can be more....moving? When love ends like that it's just so much more compelling. It leaves itself to be perfect. Because all you can do is imagine what it might have been like and you'll never imagine the fights or cheating or any of the numerous problems that a relationship brings.

I also know that a sad or brutal ending, for me anyway, is almost more fulfilling to write. Is that strange? That when I read I love happy endings, but when I write I feel a sad ending is more....literary. The fact that Doyler and Jim can never be together means that they will therefore always be. One of them can never leave or grow bored...it's forever now. And it also leaves open the option for MacEm to be the man in Jim's life, which I like.

OK. Now that I've rambled about that....second. I was having a conversation the other day with my friend about the British. Now being British myself I feel I'm able to look at these things, and as I'm half English (half Scottish) and grew up a lot in England I can talk about that too. And the English past? Not a nice one. For a tiny island Britain (and yes...mainly the English) sure can fuck up a lot. Occupy India, Ireland, deal in slaves even if we didn't really keep them...and so on. We discussed how it's not a great thing sometimes to be English. There are many people who have grudges for not too nice things our forebarers did.

So my question is, how do you feel about this? I understand that you lived in England for a while and, obviously, have lived in Ireland. I know it's a bit of a political question, but then At Swim Two Boys is a fair bit of a political book really. Again, was that something you decided, or was that just how the book wrote itself?

Anyway, far too much harping on by me there, But I wanted to ask.

Thanks

Vonnie xx
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Subject: The saffron flower is not yellow at all. It is the stigmas that give the dye.


Author:
Vince
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Date Posted: Wed, Sep 07 2005, 9:37:33 GMT

Jamie,

It's been weeks and weeks since I last put your book down and still your wonderfully drawn characters haunt me in my workabout day. Unbidden, images of Doyler offering salt to Jim from across the table flash across my mind. Insignificant passages such as "Parcel safe? Under me arm" continue to ring through my head mingling with my own personal favorites "Yes, I had known him all my life - and then we met" and "For we live as Angels among the Sodomites ... For rarely and angel finds a Lot to house him. And I would not my boy should suffer so.". I still can't resist cracking open your book when I chance upon it in a bookstore and wontedly I read the last paragraph. No matter how many times I give in, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

Yours is truly that rare book that evokes memories of yearning and first loves, of the dark and turbulent time before a gay man comes to terms with who he truly is.

It's been weeks and weeks since I last put your book down and still it resonates within me. I have not had the heart to start on a new book for fear of leaving behind Ireland and its motley cast.


Lastly, a question to you and my kindred spirits on this board. I was curious if you've seen a short film from Ireland entitled "Chicken". It only ran for three minutes but it never lacked for gravitas and depth. It's similarly set in an seaside and also involved the burgeoning friendship of two young men.

Forgive me for having rambled on.

Much love,

Vince
Subject: Go raimh maith agat


Author:
Vince
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Date Posted: Mon, Sep 05 2005, 8:44:43 GMT

Mr. O'Neill,

While I realize that I may have just lately joined the proverbial bandwagon, I nevertheless feel the need to thank you for your truly astonishing work. I'm afraid any clumsy attempy on my part to express how your book has moved me (and moves me still) would just not suffice. Again, thank you.
Subject: Kilbrack


Author:
Lisa
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Date Posted: Fri, Aug 26 2005, 2:41:19 GMT

I just finished Kilbrack. I really enjoyed it. You have a wonderful sense of humor.
Subject: MacMurrough


Author:
Lisa
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Date Posted: Mon, Aug 22 2005, 2:44:41 GMT

Jamie,

Thanks for answering my question. I wrote the other day and thanked you, but I didn't see it posted. Maybe you don't post everyone. Since this is the first time I've written to a forum I'm not familiar with how it works. Anyway, I wanted the man to be MacMurrough so I'm glad you responded. A sequel would be wonderful or maybe the book you mentioned before about the Romans in America. I really like your writing style and would like to read more.
Subject: MacMurrough


Author:
Lisa
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Date Posted: Fri, Aug 19 2005, 18:51:34 GMT

Dear Jamie,

I asked a question on August 17th about the man Doyler is referring to in Jim's bedroom at the end of the book. Some other people gave me their opinions which I really appreciate. However, I'd really like to know to whom you were referring. For some reason, it is important to me. Thanks.
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Subject: MacMurrough


Author:
Lisa
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Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17 2005, 17:17:14 GMT

Close to the end of the book when Jim dreams of Doyler sitting in his bedroom window, Doyler asks Jim "Who's that, your man inside?" Is the person inside supposed to be MacMurrough?

This novel is worth the time it took to write it.
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Subject: Scrotes and MacEmm


Author:
Marauder
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Date Posted: Wed, Aug 17 2005, 0:54:21 GMT

Jamie, I just have a quick question - a friend of mine and I were talking about Scrotes and MacMurrough, and she thinks they met before they were in prison, whereas I think they didn't meet until Wandsworth. Could you settle this for us?
Subject: Remove posts


Author:
Jamie O'Neill
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Date Posted: Wed, Jul 27 2005, 3:01:10 GMT

Can anyone work out how to remove unwanted posts? I've forgotten entirely. If you know how, will you remind me, please. Jamie.
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Subject: Scrotes


Author:
Liz
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Date Posted: Wed, Mar 23 2005, 22:09:35 GMT

Dear Jamie,
I just had a question about Scrotes. I'm aware that he is a voice in MacEmm's head and that he is modeled after some prisoner MacEmm knew during his prison sentence. But other than that, why exactly is he there?
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Subject: Soundtrack (just for fun)


Author:
Ross
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Date Posted: Sun, Jul 04 2004, 11:14:34 GMT

Dear Jamie O'Neill (& all forum)
I dont know about you, but when i read i often imagine & can hear the music or soundtrack that accompanies the story or would be film. For me At Swim evokes the obvious Clanad, traditiopnal irish type sounds & james (Titanic/Braveheart) Horner soundtracks. I could possibly rewite the list depending on my mood. Here for fun are pices of music/songs that played in my head whilst reading. Some times it is just the music & not the lyrics, othertimes its the lyrics.

Beginning Scene:- Lore (Clanad)
1st meeting Jim & Doyler:- 2 hearts beat as one (U2)
Church meeting:- God (John Lennon)
Reaching the Islan Rejoice (U2)
Doyler leaving
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Subject: Oranges


Author:
Jon
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Date Posted: Tue, Mar 01 2005, 19:02:50 GMT

Mr. O'Neill,

I finished Kilbrack a few months ago, a wonderful book! But something interesting sticks out in my mind. The father in Kilbrack has a flashback of his days at public school where he had romantic relations with a boy that "smelled of oranges." I remember distinctly that McEmm has the exact same memory of an orange- scented lover in At Swim. Is there a story behind this? Perhaps a memory of an early love, Jaime? Iím just curious.

Jon
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Subject: At Swim - the dance


Author:
Simon W
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Date Posted: Tue, May 31 2005, 12:21:33 GMT

Hi all you fans of the book - I was lucky enough to see the dance interpretation at the Hay-on-Wye Festival. Fantastic! I'm sure if you liked the book, you'll love what Earthfall have done with the dance. There's still some dates available in Galway and Cardiff over June, so if you can make a performance, I really recommend it!

http://www.earthfall.org.uk/atswim/tour.htm

Simon W
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Subject: french translation


Author:
patrick
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Date Posted: Sun, Jun 05 2005, 10:59:30 GMT

hello all,

I just had a look at the french translation of ASTB and I don't dare buy it for my (french) boyfriend to read. I liked the book so much and so much of it is lost in translation that I just can't bring myself to have him read a lesser version. I know it's a tough text to translate but still, I can't help thinking that a better job might have been done. What do YOU think, Mr. Jamie? Have you had a look at it at all and is your Fench good enough for you to form an opinion (and is my English good enough for you to understand what I'm saying?)
hugs
patrick
Subject: Jut thanks and hello


Author:
Jed Wentz
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Date Posted: Tue, May 31 2005, 11:14:33 GMT

Dear Mr. O'Neill,

I won't tell you how good your book is, because, if you are like most of the other creative souls I know (admittedly, however, musicians might be different than authors), no amount of people telling you it's great will make you think differently of it. You know your book better than anybody, and only you can say how close you got to what you wanted it to be. However, I will tell you what it has made me feel, which I'm guessing is what it's all about for you.
Before I do, I have to admit that I haven't finished it yet...having devored Part One, I hesitate to proceed, fearing the worst and wanting to savour and digest. But up to the point I have reached it has made me feel alot of things very keenly, has awoken many old memories, and made me cry...what more can you, o author! o reader!, want?

Of course I shall break my word now and tell you it is a very fine book, beautiful and sad and moving, particularly the scene between Doyler and his mother as she washes the sheets. That kind of tenderness, defensive and melancholy, seems to me to be more difficult to catch than sexual passion and I find that scene haunts me.

I suppose the fact that I have just in recent years started to visit Ireland (setdancing mad you see) and that I am a flute-player myself adds force to my experience of the book, but you know, place and period, so carefully documented and made absolutely real to the reader, are not really what this book is about.

Thanks,

Jed
Subject: Film Adaptation


Author:
Gabriel
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Date Posted: Tue, May 24 2005, 2:58:52 GMT

Dear Jamie,

Thank you for At Swim Two Boys. A delightful read from start to finish. I'd like to know what is your opinion on a possible film adaptation of your book? Would you be in favor or opposed to such a thing? I ask because some authors really resent it when filmmakers take artistic liberties with their stories. What is your position? If a movie were made, would you want to be directly involved in the creative process--either as a consultant or maybe even as a screenwriter?

Lastly, like many have asked before, who would you choose to play the leads of Jim and Doyler?

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,
Gabriel
Subject: Why did Doyler leave?


Author:
Ernster
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Date Posted: Fri, May 20 2005, 23:20:10 GMT

At the end of "1915," why did Doyler leave town? My reading is a bit foggy on this point. It appears that he was roughed up by the new local priest on account of being a Socialist. Then he announces to Jim that he is leaving, but that the 1916 swim is still "on." But I'm just not getting a satisfactory picture here...was he told or ordered to leave town? Did he decided to do so on his own, and if so...why? Out of embarassment? Did he have business to attend?

I absolutely love this book and I tell everyone it is my favorite book of all time. I will save forever the email from Jamie O'Neill in response to my attempted description of how much this book means to me (before I discovered this forum.)

But I'm not ashamed to admit to a bit of ignorance, and this point has my mind right now.
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Subject: Hay


Author:
Andy
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Date Posted: Wed, Apr 27 2005, 17:57:27 GMT

Too excited for words (pant, pant) which is almost shameful at my age, BUT BUT BUT I just got tix for dance and talky thingy at Hay in late May. Can't wait, can't wait. It betta be good pal! LOL C ya then xxx
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  • Re: Hay -- Jamie O'Neill, Wed, Apr 27 2005, 19:09:56 GMT
Subject: AS,TB dance


Author:
Jamie O'Neill
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Date Posted: Thu, May 05 2005, 18:51:56 GMT

There's a good "e-flyer" for the dance, with music and pictures, a gallery, and tour dates for the current Wales tour ... go to this address: . Strange to say, you can hear my paltry voice on the soundtrack. Jamie.
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Subject: audiobook?


Author:
Nick
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Date Posted: Thu, Apr 28 2005, 22:22:03 GMT

I read ASTB a couple of years ago and found it quite magical. Wanting to relive the experience, it seems to me that an audio version would be wonderful: are there any plans to produce one?
I'm not sure the Irish accents I conjured up in my English head were always altogether accurate, so I'd love to hear it read properly. :-)
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Subject: A note from Jamie O'Neill


Author:
Jamie O'Neill
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Date Posted: Sat, May 15 2004, 15:42:31 GMT

I've decided to have a go at setting up a forum for interested visitors to my website. If it works, I'll keep it going. Otherwise -- well, otherwise, I don't suppose it matters much what I do. But, for the moment, there's a better chance of my replying here to queries from readers than by email. My email inbox is entirely overflowing and I don't know when I'll get round to clearing it up. (It's been a difficult year.) So, thanks for looking in, and do try posting. Jamie O'Neill.
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Subject: Sligo and Glasthule-mÍme combat?


Author:
Patrick
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Date Posted: Fri, Feb 11 2005, 23:11:54 GMT

After lugging _At Swim, Two Boys_ around the world with me for several years, I finally sat down and read the novel last week. What an experience. Like so many of those who have left their comments here, I was and remain very moved by the story.

Part of its impact certainly has to do with the memories and feelings that it evokes in those of us of a certain age and place. I met my "Doyler" as a 15 year old growing up in ultra-conservative rural Michigan in the mid-Ď70s but was too scared and too Catholic to act on desire. A quick kiss on the nape of the neck was the most that could be risked. It wasnít until four years (and several girlfriends) later that a chance encounter ďin the lavs,Ē as MacEmm would put it, led to my first real sexual experience with another man. That event took place in the infamous Hibernian homosexual hotbed of Sligo. (Go figure.) Living in Europe as a college exchange student, I had decided to spend a rainy April afternoon chasing not hanky-panky but the ghost of Yeats at the Lake Isle of Innisfree. The encounter was followed by massive regretóI sobbed all the way back to Dublin in the trainóand a confession that could rival Jimís in its pathos. The sheer Irishness of Mr. OíNeillís prose took my thoughts there for the first time in decades. Funny thing: after reading his wonderful book, I find myself looking back with amusement and tenderness instead of shame.

At the same time, however, the message seems to be as much about the importance of committing oneself to a bigger cause as it is about the difficulty of gay coming of age. It all just has to be about more than who we have in our bed. Congratulations on your triumph, Mr. O'Neill, and thanks.

--Patrick
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Subject: Wonderful Book


Author:
Maggie
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Date Posted: Thu, Mar 31 2005, 4:49:46 GMT

Dear Jamie,
I just wanted to drop a line saying how much I love At Swim, Two Boys. I'm sure you're sick and tired of hearing how great it is. You have such an amazing and unique way of telling a story, especially something as deep and beautiful as this. I just wanted to thank you, and wish you the best of luck.
Wonderfully,
Maggie
Subject: Easter in Dublin


Author:
Simon W
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Date Posted: Wed, Mar 30 2005, 14:39:17 GMT

Jamie, Andy, Liz
Many thanks for your tips, I had a fantastic trip. Sunday to Dalkey, first Coliemore harbour, then lunch in the Idle Wild cafe, finally my beloved communing with the seals in Bulloch harbour (aren't they big beasts up close?)(the seals, I mean...). Afterwards, two stops up the FART to Sandycove for the Forty Foot where, right on cue, three attractive lads obliged with a plunge into the sea (togs were worn!).
Easter Monday brought sunshine to St Stephens, found 'the mound' and the lethal dash across to the Surgeons. Shelbourne sadly closed a while now for refurbishment. Finished up with an evening show at Liberty Hall (much rebuilt since '16, of course) on Patsy Cline, complete with mirror ball - how camp is that?
Finally Tuesday, Jamie, went into the Irish bookshop on Grafton Street and there, calling to me, were both of Ernie O'Malley's books!
Simon W
PS Jamie - are you going to attend any of the At Swim shows on the mainland? The Hay on Wye festival, maybe?
Subject: Fantastic Book


Author:
Andy
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Date Posted: Sun, May 30 2004, 8:55:43 GMT

Dear Jamie,

I have now read the book twice, and will read it again later in the year. The second reading was even more profound than the first, and i continue to reflect upon the story. There are numerous themes of course, but the ones of identity and history, personal and national, are universal and were well portrayed throughgout the book. I am interested in others views on whether MacMurrough's character development was a little trite, though I personally think it possible. I have since visited Dublin and been down to the Forty Foot and had a drink in the bar of the Shelbourne. It was good to see the places for real. I also love the allusions to much of Joyce's work and recognise it must be impossible to follow successfully in his wake (lol). But you have just about pulled it off and i just love lyrical writing with the mountain tops and beautiful vistas that reach out before us in our imagination. This book should become recommended reading for everyone with a soul and a sense of pride. Congratulations. 10 years well spent. xx
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Subject: cheer?


Author:
johnny sandes
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Date Posted: Mon, Mar 21 2005, 15:50:53 GMT

i read gone with the wind twelve years ago when i was just twelve and it has been my favourite ever since its a book ive read so many times i might be able to recite it. your book has blown me away this is my favourite book ever and i average 40 a year. its moved me so much its all i think about its been weeks and i still cry. thank you
Subject: Jim and MacEmm


Author:
Marauder
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Date Posted: Mon, Feb 28 2005, 15:55:09 GMT

Dear Jamie,

I've read At Swim, Two Boys three times and I still have a question on my mind.

After Doyler dies (one of the rare fictional deaths that makes me cry, by the way), what exactly is the relationship between Jim and MacEmm? Does it involve sex at all, is the part I'm really curious about. I couldn't quite figure out the exact dynamic, and neither could some other fans of the book I've talked to.

I'd like to thank you for setting up this message board; I enjoy reading it.

Also, are you seriously intending to write a sequel? If so, when will it be set, approximately?

Thanks.
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Subject: Two Boys, At Swim


Author:
Semantic Fields
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Date Posted: Mon, Mar 07 2005, 20:39:38 GMT

I finished reading Two Boys, At Swim (would you believe it! today - it took a week). Brilliant. I cried and laughed. It has brought back memories of my (long deceased) friend and made me feel less lonely.
M.
Subject: Just questions.


Author:
Neda
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Date Posted: Wed, Jun 02 2004, 21:14:50 GMT

Wow, a forum! I remember thinking a while ago, "wouldn't it be great if there were some sort of message board."

I'm Neda. Just introducing myself because I'll probably join in the discussion questions from here on out. Hello, everyone.

And now to the obligatory decleration of never ending love of the author's writing:

Mr. O'Neill,

At Swim Two Boys is obviously the most wonderful book ever.

That's all I'm going to say about the book, because if I get long-winded then it'd be boring.

A question, though; did the finished product at all resemble your vision of it in the beginning of the ten year period?
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Subject: Repeated Readings!


Author:
Patrick
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Date Posted: Tue, Jan 25 2005, 23:30:28 GMT

I know everyone's already brought attention to this; but it just seems to me that there aren't too many books out there that you can read 'Repeatedly', and still get new bits of hidden fun out of. I've read this book four times and I still weep like a little baby when I get to the end. I recently went to Ireland, and ended up buy an UK version there and reading it over my two weeks bussing around. I desperatly wanted to go to the 40ft. and do a bit of swimming, but it was sooooo cold, don't know how Jim and Doyler did it, or anyone else for that matter :)

Anyway these charaters are real to me, a part of Irish history. To be celebrated with all the other Irish Icons.

Please Jamie tell me you're working on another novel, and that it wont take 10 years to write. :)
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Subject: ASTB - different writing phases


Author:
jerome kelleher
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 29 2004, 23:11:53 GMT

I could blether on endlessly, but I am sure that you have had an elegant sufficiency of messages that confirm the mastery displayed in your first novel. But while reading I noticed a marked change in style and, I must say, quality around the halfway mark. During the first part of the book I would often feel the need to stop and read a passage, or even a sentence, two or three times or more because of the originality and beauty of the language, song and rhythm. It was as is you had used a day to perfect a sentence. Maybe you had. And it had been worthwhile. The back end of the book is fine, but feels rushed, as if, after 10 years, the book had to be finished, almost regardless. The poetry and lyric fades. Was there a difference that you experienced while writing?
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Subject: question


Author:
Juanita
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 22 2004, 12:14:00 GMT

Dear Mr O'Neill,

I was wondering if your publisher forwards letters etc. to you that readers might send to you. I sent something to you this summer, but have no idea whether it ever reached you. Can you help me out on this? (It was, by the way, a letter plus a play I wrote & sent out to a few people whose writing I admire. So, of course, that simply had to include you.).
Thanks & happy x-mas,
Juanita
Subject: Two questions


Author:
Carl
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Date Posted: Wed, Dec 22 2004, 0:48:57 GMT

Mr. O'Neill,

I read on your Web site that you were recently involved in translating "At Swim" into a dance presentation. Have you ever considered writing AT SB as a play for the stage?

At one time, in the early version of this Web site, there was talk of making the book into a film. This seems to have disappeared. Any chance of a resurrection? Neil Jordan ought to get off his ... as a director of Irish gay cinema, and Clint Eastwood seems to have no problem dealing with gay issues ("Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"); not to mention the fact that he is one hell of a director!

Carl
Subject: Christmas reading


Author:
Andy
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Date Posted: Mon, Dec 20 2004, 20:39:23 GMT

Dear Jamie

It's Christmas time and for the third year I have picked up AS,TB as my book for the "season to be cheerful" (what cheer, eh? - in this age of Blunkett). AS, TB is becoming as familiar as old friends at this time of year. I have just finished the fist two chapters and, as before, this is one book which I read slowly, deliberately, savouring the delicious mysteries of the writing; unravelling a few more but leaving many more for future enjoyment. Thank you once again Mr O'Neill for creating such a great literary gift. Merry Christmas to you. Love Andy xx
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Subject: Book Club Meeting


Author:
Jon
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Date Posted: Thu, Dec 02 2004, 19:33:23 GMT

Dear Mr O' Neill,

The book club meeting, which was the topic of my last post, went extremly well! ASTB recieved laude, praise, and with one professor at my university, tears. Deffinatly the most well-recieved book our book club has ever discussed. During the meeting, I read your reply to my first post, quite a witty reply. We enjoyed its humor and its insight. Thanks so much for a wonderful book, and our local bookclub anxiously awaits a sequel.

Jon

p.s.- I'm currently a 1/3 through Kilbrack, very intriquing so far. I'm sure I'll have a few dozen questions when I'm finished!
Subject: After the Rising...


Author:
Simon Wilkinson
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Date Posted: Sat, Nov 20 2004, 16:32:13 GMT

AS,TB - great book, finished it a fortnight ago but the characters and action remain very vivid.

Jamie, forgive me for picking at the historical details, but I'm learning as much about Ireland as I'm being entertained, so may I please ask:
- MacEmm and Jim in temporary gaol. "They stretched ahead, the years, of military confinement, convict labour". Is that MacEmm's fears, or the eventual truth from the narrator? Weren't the rebels given an amnesty in 1917, or would MacEmm have received special treatment for his "previous"?
- final para "bitter most bitter defeat...Free State troopers". I can only guess here at Republican frustration with developments after WWW1 - can you recommend a good history on this period? Something that doesn't just focus on the leaders, but on the lives of the (extra)ordinary, just like AS,TB.

Many thanks. Simon
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Subject: So this is where you've been!


Author:
Columba
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Date Posted: Thu, Nov 18 2004, 22:40:45 GMT

Hello there Jamie,
Did we not decide that I did the Web Design and you stick to the books, that's it I'm bringing out a 644 page blockbuster - At Gym two Guys I think I'll call it. You can come up to Newry for the launch, We're a city now you know even got one of those 'other' nights once a month.
Have to say though very good Site congratulations. Came across you looking over those glasses on the front of some magazine which sent me here. Hope things are getting better for you, you're still in our thoughts.
Love,
Columba.

ps If you want to see how old and wrinkly we have become living in the artic north check out the photos on my site: http://www.gaynewry.com
Subject: To Mr O'Neill


Author:
Jon Coleman
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Date Posted: Fri, Nov 12 2004, 4:01:23 GMT

Dear Mr. OíNeill,

Iím not sure if you would remember me or not, but I meet you on Easter day, 2003 in Galway. I was studying in London at the time, and you were gracious enough to meet a young university boy who adores At Swim, Two Boys. We had a great two hours in a hotel pub, with my many questions and your many answers. I must admit, it was one of the most memorable times of my life. Well, as I promised on that night almost two years ago, I am back in the States and promoting your book, spreading the good news of OíNeill! In fact, I have arranged for my universityís local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, to read At Swim, Two Boys in our quarterly book club. Although the discussion of the book is not until the 30th of November, the novel has produced much conversation, and of course, a hint of controversy. It isnít every day that uber-conservative Kentucky is shown a beautifully portrayed account of homosexual love. In spite of any controversy or perhaps because of it, At Swim, Two Boys is looking to be our most popular and widest read book that the club has ever chosen. It is because of this book club discussion that I am posting. I would greatly appreciate it if you would post a reply in answer to this question for our book club. In At Swim, Two Boys with all its messages, with all its beauty, what do you want readers of this book to take away with them? What is this book about? Iím very curious to hear your answer, as well as those who will be attending our discussion. Thank you very much, and I will, of course, place a post on how the book discussion goes.


Sincerely

Jon
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Subject: Thank you


Author:
Cara Dossett
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Date Posted: Wed, Sep 08 2004, 8:05:38 GMT

Dear Mr. O'Neill,
I am a very discriminating reader. I like to say I am a fan of books, but often I find myself unable to truly find beauty in modern books; often that beauty is reserved for those lovely old reads we call "classics." I often wander to and fro through out my local book stores, browsing the literature section time and again, hoping to find that one book--that one single book--that could inspire me to say with truth that I am indeed a fan of modern literature.
Your book has done this.
I came upon your work [At Swim, Two Boys] on one of my book browsing expeditions. I saw it sitting on the shelf and the title at once caught my eye. Curiously, I read the back, read the reviews, read a mere handful of pages, and fell instantly betwitched with the intricate beauty and pain your words and story have conveyed.

I have read the book's length several times, sighing in admiration at favorite scenes, and growing excited with new details I had missed in previous reads. I like to read this story through many times, because there are so many elements to the book, so many themes and angles and cleverly woven thoughts. I like to try and understand the characters, and understand the thoughts behind creating a work so profound.

Your writing is a puzzle to me, and I enjoy scanning the pages time again to contemplate your rhetorics and literary theory--can you tell yet that I'm a literary nerd?

I read many of the interviews and such posted on your website, and I find it wonderful how you pieced the book together.

That reminds me: I have one small question, if you don't mind? I recall your having noted that the element of swimming was not added until later. My question is, is the overwhelming feel of the ocean and the characters' fascination with it a metaphor for something greater? Perhaps I am merely letting my mind wander further than it should, but after seeing that it was only added later, teamed with the certain words Jim in particular uses to describe the overwhelming ocean, it reminds me of a refence to something else overwhelming, mysterious, and beautiful--love.

I apologize if I'm thinking too hard on all of this. My dream is to become a writer myself someday, and your work has given me inspiration in that field, and has rekindled my passion for literature again. Thank you so much for that.

Anyway, I also apologize for ranting and raving so much, but your book is haunting me and I love every moment of it. I read your message of creating a dance version of the book. Congratulations on that--it is a wonderful thing. I dreamt once that your story was made into a screenplay, and to hear of a real dance version is amazing. Is there any possibility of this general arrangement being available on video, perhaps? I would love to see it.

Again, Mr. O'Neill, thank you for reinspiring my love for books and giving a young aspiring author drive to write with such beauty and truth as yourself. Thank you for writing this, and I hope for more of your work in the future.
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Subject: A Different Thank You


Author:
Alex Bernico
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Date Posted: Sat, Aug 21 2004, 7:52:24 GMT

While I gather a lot of people would like to thank an author for something maybe inspirational - I'd just like to personally thank Mr. Jamie O'Neill for this book. First an all around Well Done needs to be said. But one thing in-particular I'd like to share is:

Honestly prior to my purchase, i'd never heard of Jamie, or At Swim, Two Boys.... I was casually browsing my local Borders (Bookstore/Cafe in US - Boston) when I saw the cover, being a swim fanatic, I decided to browse the back and inside notes, to get a glimpse of what maybe inside. I saw the potential for a young man to young man love story -And it didn't appear to be of typical gay stories, which usually read like the latest smut mag. I then noticed the name Doyler Doyle, with that I had to buy the book. I'll explain -

March 27, 2003 - I lost my boy, my life partner to an accidental overdose. His name was (Joseph) Doyle, 22 years old -- so even though the connection wasn't really to my boy, I still wanted to pick up a copy and perhaps one day read it.

To this day, I still look for answers (of which I already know the answers) to help explain or lessen the hurt you feel when you lose a loved one, particularly a significant other. I 100% empathized with Jim in the end, with the dreaming, the walking away, and being confused etc. And despite what people may or may not be confused as to the ending - 'Should I be happy, or upset' -- I found GREAT Joy to the way this story ended. Almost to say, or give some sort of hope, that through it all, I too will be back one day with Joe.

For the record to those talking about taking this book to bed. Laugh not, I definitely have done this -- I'm not quite sure why, but if i get down about Joe or start to feel as Jim did - Having this book seems to help calm that anxiety. When I read about their lives, I can envision our lives. When you read this book, you get so caught up in the moment, that to put it down can make you sad. So I think having the book in bed, for some of us may lessen that feeling. (Or maybe I am just crazy) Either way it just proves how much emotion can be stirred up by this book. (I had just finished it for the first time tonight - 30 minutes ago actually) Also the first book I've ever read 400 plus pages non-stop.

Anyway - a million thanks, and you can bet your life I will be highly recommending this to all of my friends and family.

Alex Bernico, 27, Boston Massachusetts
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Subject: Ireland


Author:
Niki
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Date Posted: Mon, Sep 06 2004, 12:59:50 GMT

Dear Mr O'Neill
I am an Italian reader, and I just finished At Swim, Two Boys.
I was impressed by the book in many ways.
However the only new point of view I can give is that I was really mesmerized by your descriptions of Ireland. I have never visited and I suddenly realised that the information I have is only commom place. Reading your novel gave me the hint that behind the green spaces, the pubs etc, that we read about and see in films, there is a world with different ties, relations and rythms.
It is probably obvious to you, but to me it was the feeling of walking in a kitchen and smelling food.

Thank you


Niki
Subject: At Swim: the dance


Author:
Jamie O'Neill
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Date Posted: Mon, Aug 09 2004, 22:10:54 GMT

The reason I haven't been answering questions for a while is that I've been away. I've been in Wales working on a dance version of At Swim. It's with a company called Earthfall, based in Cardiff (www.earthfall.org.uk). We've cut the book to just the love story of the two boys. They dance in water, and beautifully they dance. In kilts they dance, waterfully. Two boys in water dancing, kiltingly beautiful. We had three performances in Cardiff, testing. It worked.

The dance is to bed now till spring next year, when it will reawake and tour the UK. It will tour northern Europe too, Holland and Germany and Poland. I'll put a link on my site as I learn more and dates are confirmed. I hope very much to bring it to Ireland. But Ireland is difficult. If we said it was two Polish boys who fell in love in the Warsaw Uprising, they'd have it here in a shot. But two Irish boys? Is stocha nach bfhuil.

That's Irish for I suppose not (ish toe-ka nak will)-- or it's Irish for Funds are limited; or for Our funding has been withdrawn; or for Aren't they supposed to be Welsh? or for I never realized Welsh meant gay, did you?
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Subject: footnotes?


Author:
Owen
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Date Posted: Fri, Aug 06 2004, 16:11:59 GMT

Mr. O'Neill,
To start, I am on my second reading of 'At Swim' and I must say it improves with subsequent readings(or maybe I've just improved as reader:). I think I will read it every summer pretty much for the rest of my life.
Also, you signed my book at a reading you did in Chicago so thank you for that. :)
My question is are there any plans for a annotated version of the book? I am thinking something along the lines of a footnoted version, where an editor would give historical background on the situations in the book, and also offer explanations of some of the references in the book. I think it would be helpful to some of us less informed American readers. Not that you don't do a spectacular job of relating the historical aspects of the book, but I think additional commentary would enrich a reading of the book.
I think the book beautifully immerses you in the world of Ireland and the characters and the sea, and I would love to know even more about it, while I am actually reading the book. I know this is the type of treatment that classics get after being in print for years and I think this book deserves it! And I don't think I'm being premature! Just a thought.
Thanks for your time,
Owen Faloona
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Subject: "At Swim Two Boys"


Author:
Thomas W. Dixon
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Date Posted: Tue, Jul 20 2004, 17:38:39 GMT

July 20, 2004
Dear Mr. O'Neill,

After reading a laudatory review of "At Swim Two Boys" some time ago, I promptly bought a copy of it at a book store across the street from where I live in Bethesda, Md. I read through it slowly, savoring every word and page of it, and than I read it a second time. I even plan to read it a third time. I don't remember ever before being as much smitten by a novel as I was by your haunting book, for many reasons.

To start with, there is the writing itself, which amounts to poetry of the most powerful sort. For the writing alone, the book deserves the highest praise. There is even the fascinating manner in which you shift back and forth among the characters in the telling of the story including the one who has died. There is also the manner in which you work in the history of the period in which you set the story, not to mention the atmosphere of the small town in which you set much of it, and omnipresent influence of the Church

Then there are the characters themselves, every one of whom you bring to life in a way that makes them stand out as memorable individuals, and the management of the narrative, which makes the book a page-turner, as I have always felt the best novels should do. I think especially of the ending, which is powerfully affecting, I guess because I became so fond of all of the characters.

Not the least of its appeals to me was the part that the water plays in it. I have loved the water and swimming all my life, and you have managed to communicate the kind of feeling I have for the water better than I ever could have imagined anyone doing. I found the site of the boys' swimming on the map and hope some day to visit it. (I did visit Dublin some years ago and went out the site of Joyce's tower and watched young people swimming there.) If I do, I hope it may be possible to meet you personally. In fact, I came close to including a stop in Ireland on my way back from a tour of France recently, but decided I would forego it this time.

I have swum in hundreds of places all over the world -in public pools, in private pools, in lakes, and, best of all in oceans, most recently in the Atlantic at Biarritz, France, and in the Mediterranean on the French Riviera. Also, for forty years I taught swimming and managed the swimming pool at the summer day camp of the school where I have taught English for fifty years. For the last twenty-five of those years, I have taught a class in the plays of Shakespeare to our graduating class (eighteen-year olds).

When I first read "At Swim," some months ago, I recommended it enthusiastically to a good friend of mine and fellow English teacher here at Landon, Matt Dougherty. (Both Matt and his wife, Nancy, are of Irish extraction.) He reacted just as enthusiastically to it as I had. The next thing I knew, to my amazement and surprise, there arrived in my mail an autographed copy of it from you personally! Needless to say, I was immensely grateful to Matt and to you also.

I apologize that it has taken me so long to write to thank you. I am not yet an adept at communicating via the computer, but with the help of a friend I have just now found your web site, thus this long letter. I read in your own contribution to your Forum that you are having a bad year. I suppose you are familiar with the notion about the difference between the English and the Irish: The English believe that is serious but not hopeless; the Irish believe that is hopeless, but not serious. Keep the faith.

Sincerely,
Tom Dixon
Subject: Prepare for a tongue bath...


Author:
Leanne
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Date Posted: Fri, Jun 25 2004, 8:22:47 GMT

Dear Mr. O'Neill;

Upon reading 'At Swim, Two Boys' I've decided that there is just no way to truly capture how it has affected me in words, but I'll try my best. Have you ever witnessed something that made you feel as if you had become a better person for living through it? That's how your book makes me feel. As if I came out of it better somehow than I have ever been before. There are a hundred little phrases in the novel that touched me so much that I had to read them a dozen times over before moving on with the page. I couldn't tell you what's so special about 'At Swim, Two Boys' (especially since I didn't understand the half of it =0D) but I'm forever grateful that you wrote it. It is an beautiful story and you should feel proud of every moment that brought you to write it.

I also read 'Moody and Gay' off of the website and absolutely loved it. It kind of reminded me of the 'Griffin and Sabine' series by Nick Bantock. Somehow, the description of Moody and Gay's lifestyle (which, by the way, is chilling in it's plausibility) reminded me of the absentee relationship between Griffin and Sabine. The mood of the story was perfect; I could almost feel how stifling their avoidance would have been and the residual hurt that was only perpetuated by their silence. Although it seems strange to have never met Gay, I think that the story ended perfectly.

I hope everything goes well for you in your future writings.
Leanne
Subject: Maurice by E. M. Forster


Author:
Marauder
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Date Posted: Fri, Jun 18 2004, 14:08:57 GMT

Jamie: I'm assuming you've read the book Maurice by E. M. Forster, as A) it's one of the queer classics and B) ASTB contains the phrase "an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort". What did you think about it?

Marauader
Subject: Wirrasthrue


Author:
Richard L. Gage
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Date Posted: Sat, Jun 12 2004, 3:49:11 GMT

Dear Mr. O'Neill,
No book--and by this my seventieth summer, I've read heaps--has ever moved me as deeply as At Swim, Two Boys. If I had had it when I was a teenager, I should have realized early that I too was an angel among the Sodomites and not, as the accepted ignorance brayed, the reverse. I found Lot's house only after moving here to Japan, so many years ago that by now I have, like a Victorian tin box, been japanned.

You mentioned feeling lonely after completing the novel. In David Copperfield, Dickens says something similar, indicating that he was sorry to part even with the ambiguous Steerforth, whom Gordie knew about (though probably not about his amgiguity). Unlike authors, we readers never have to say good-bye to characters we have come to love. We need only to crack the cover of the book, and we're back among them.


Now to the topic. One way or another, I have ferreted out the meanings of most of the Erin-isms that were unknown to me. But wirrasthrue eludes me yet. From the Internet, I learn that Stephan Daedalus called a picture of Nicholas II a "wirrasthrue jaysus." From this and from what Doyler says to the boots, I suppose it means a mess. Please advise.
Oh, que je can be garrulous!
I hope all goes well in Galway.
Gratefully and admiringly,
Dick Gage
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Subject: Simile, Metaphor


Author:
Horatio
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Date Posted: Sun, May 23 2004, 16:09:01 GMT

Dear Mr O'Neill;

I read your book at the suggestion of a friend (that Liz creature, actually), and liked it from the very first pages. It was one of the first books I've ever read that affected me on a deep, emotional level-- mostly because I am both gay and Catholic. Usually, I will find a character that I am fond of. Seldom does a book make me cry, but At Swim sent me into fits of sobbing towards the end. Although it seemed as if I was supposed to eventually loathe the character of MacMurrough, I found him to be my favorite (with Doyler closely behind him).

I did have to read the book with the entirety of Encyclopedia Britannica and the Oxford Unabridged next to me, but somehow not knowing the occasional word or reference did not disrupt my reading. In fact, I found the book to be not only a literary, but a learning experience. You do not get a great deal of exposure to Irish history outside of, well, Ireland-- especially in the US, because we are adamant about our own history-- and I feel better having done the little bit of side-research. I am Sicilian-born, which is far from Irish as you can get (we personally believe that cabbage and oatmeal are for horses), and the cultural tones of the entire book enriched me.

But I'm meandering like a slow stream, so I'll get to the point.

Your writing is beautiful, lyrical, and clearly Irish. While reading, I constantly found myself going back and rereading lines. They were usually similes or metaphors.

I wanted to know what inspires you to come up with lines such as the ones in the book. Usually, similes end up cliched, but yours seemed to be almost non sequitur.

Grateful;
Horatio
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Subject: An obligatory introduction


Author:
Lily
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Date Posted: Sat, May 29 2004, 2:39:50 GMT

Dear Jamie
Now for the obligatory I'm Lily, and...well, I'm not a friend of Liz's, but we both frequent the same Harry Potter message boards, which is where she recommended I read At Swim, Two Boys, for which I am eternally in her debt. At first, I had a hard time getting into it, but once I passed the first few chapters, I could not put it down. It's probably the best book I've ever read, and I've recommened it to everyone I know. My mother's book club is currently reading it, and I'm leading the discussion as a guest speaker next month. Speaking of mothers and such, I'm probably your youngest fan. I'm still in high school--but that doesn't make me understand At Swim any less, in my opinion.
I'm so impressed with your book. I open it, and am blown away by the sheer...perfectness of your book. Wow. It's changed my outlook on life, love, and the English language. I'm not the same person I was. Can I ask a question, though? More like two questions.
1)What was your inspiration for At Swim? Did it fall from the sky? Did it begin as a "What if..." As a wannabe-novelist, I'm quite curious.
2)A couple of days ago, I was talking to someone I knew about books we liked, and I obviously mentioned At Swim. They said "Oh, they're making a movie out of that, with Jamie Bell, right?" And um...er? Is it true?

Thanks for your time!
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Subject: I once took 'At Swim' to bed with me.


Author:
Katie
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Date Posted: Fri, May 28 2004, 10:48:15 GMT

Jamie,

Astoundingly, I am not a friend of Liz's. I did, however, meander over here through her, though I will refrain from boring you with the degrees of separation.

As a sidenote, we share a last name, you and I, and I always get a little thrill when I see it on the cover of ASTB. I was so excited, when I picked up the book the first time, to see that we both spelled it 'right'.

Last semester, I managed to work 'At Swim' into over half of an hour-long presentation. In a Comparative Politics class.

I recently, for class, had to make a list of ten books that were formative for me - stunned me, left me gobsmacked, changed my worldview, changed me. Here's what I had to say about At Swim, Two Boys:

"I could never leave this book out of a list such as this. It took me months to read this book the first time (it drained me so), and because I read so little of it at once, I never became fully absorbed in it - even with time, it often takes a while to get into it. Even so, I recognized the superior prose, storytelling, and characterizations. The cover art on my American paperback is enormously compelling, so when I was packing to move a few months later and saw it, I resolved to read it again. I started it one afternoon, and stayed up all night to finish it by the following evening.

Words fail me when I try to describe the emotion that At Swim, Two Boys stirs in me. It is heartbreaking and beautiful and it is impossible to pick a favorite part. The last line of the book leaves you absolutely broken, not sure whether to feel triumph or relief or utter desolation Ė and so you feel all of these things. The story is masterfully conceived and executed, the characters are gorgeous and real, the language is stunning, and the history is accurate and human. OíNeill set a difficult course for himself, trying to marry the fight for freedom for Ireland with the fight for the freedom to be gay in Ireland. This is practically a perfect novel, and while it humbles me, it also inspires me to no end. I've read it so many times by now that I can just pick it up and flip to a random page and be instantly transported. When I do this, though, I always have to read the end before I put it down, and it hits me every time. O'Neill has perhaps penned one of the best last lines in all of literature. One day I was just looking at the book, as it sat on my desk, and everything it is came crashing down on me, and I cried and cried for the rest of the day. I think I even took the book to bed with me, as if I could bring some measure of comfort to the people it contains. I want these characters to be corporeal (they're already 'real') so that I can witness everything that they gave and shared and lost."

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
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Subject: When is your next book out


Author:
Ross
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Date Posted: Thu, May 27 2004, 21:39:09 GMT

Dear Jamie O Neill
I started by reading AS2B. Best book ever read. Very moving very thought provoking. Ive visited Dublin since & been on the Easter Rising walk and learnt a great deal. I cant possibly put in words what your book means to me. Ive also read Disturbance (very wierd but enjoyable with a good twist at the end)& Kibrack. When when when is your next book out. Will As2B ever be made into a movie & if so who would you like to play Jim & Doyler. I would suggest Jamie Bell would make a good Doyler. What Cheer. Kind regards Ross
Subject: Jim and Doyler


Author:
Liz
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Date Posted: Tue, May 25 2004, 22:24:23 GMT

One thing that I only really noticed after my second read (way, way back in December 2002), was that we rarely got to see Doyler's point of view, especially his view of Jim. We got some key things, like his conversation with the Boots in Dublin, but overall, all of their interactions - Muglins, swimming lessons, Wolfe Tone's grave - were from Jim's point of view. Eversince I realized this, I've been intensely curious as to how Doyler came to fall in love with Jim, what was going through his mind, and so on. The only time we ever 'see' Jim through his eyes is when he meets him for another swim, and puts his arms around the elfin shoulder. What is it about Jim that he loves so? (It's an absurd question to ask, at least to me, because I love Jim like crazy, so of course, who wouldn't, but still.)

I don't know, it's just been on my mind, I suppose...
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Subject: Rubbish


Author:
Porter
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Date Posted: Wed, May 26 2004, 21:37:25 GMT

I came accross this forum by accident....something funny happened on the way to the Forum!....I want you all to know that I would not usually bother myself with such banal timewasting, but having seen it....well...Mr. O'Neill, you have really done it now. Not alone do you subject readers to your long winded tome but your conceit now subjects surfers to this forum. And the contributors. Well, just read through it. Big headed, egotistical, and obviously not very occupied. David Cunts cant even imagine writing a novel! Well, who ratteled his cage then? It was one of the first books that Horatio ever read. What age are you, Horatio? 11, is it? Liz acknowledges that she is asking absurd questions! Need I go on? Mr. Bighead O'Neill, your book was all right but I don't know what on earth all the fuss is about though. Someone told me it was even translated into Czech. Oh those poor New Europeans, they don't even have a sea.God only knows what they will make of it. No doubt they will inundate your high and mighty forum. We are sooooooooooooo lucky that "there is a better chance of my replying here"...bla. bla. bla.
Have a good day sad people.
Replies:
Subject: Thanks!


Author:
Jonathan Conley
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Date Posted: Thu, May 27 2004, 6:27:30 GMT

Dear Jamie,

After purchasing three editions of At Swim, Two Boys (one in German, and my German is terrible), reading it twice, and seeing your name everyday for weeks, I just can't bring myself to call you Mr. O'Neill so I hope you don't find me disrespectful.

I'm thrilled about this forum since I wanted to let you know for some time how wonderful I find your book and how I am still reeling over the fact that I missed your visit to San Francisco over a year ago.

I could compliment your book for pages, but I can't imagine anything that hasn't been said or written. So, instead, I have a question. I've read the beginning of Chapter 15 a few times but I am a bit thick so I was hoping that you, or any other board members, could help me. I can't figure out what voice is narrating the opening paragraph. Specifically, it's the "I don't know" line in the second sentence that has me thrown and I just can't figure out who is "I"! It's silly, but if anyone can point out the obvious I'd appreciate it.

If anyone would care to recommend other novels, I'd love to hear of them as well.

Thanks again, Jamie, for writing such a beautiful book and I look forward to reading your other works.

Jonathan.
Subject: ASTB


Author:
Pascal Dunne
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Date Posted: Wed, May 26 2004, 15:47:37 GMT

I have just completed AS,TB for the second time,the first just after it was published. I have been a regular visitor to the swimming area Jim and Doyler used - The Forty Foot - and know the area well around Sandycove. I became so engrossed in the book that it became a priority each day as I devoured every word. I have passed it on to a friend to read now and have recommended it to several others too. I look forward to reading your other material and further material. Jamie, thank you so much for such a good read.
Subject: At Swim, Two Boys


Author:
David Kundtz
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Date Posted: Mon, May 17 2004, 3:51:43 GMT

Dear Jamie: We met briefly in Dublin in the summer of 2002. You gave a reading at a small book shop in the Temple Bar section. There was some immensely popular football match going on, with Ireland in the playoffs. You wore a ghastly outfit of green and orange! I had just read ASTB. (Get to the point, David.) I am a writer (non-fiction/self-help/spirituality) The point is I have never written fiction, never thought I could. I said to a writer-friend recently., "I can't imagine writing a novel!" "Well then you can't," she said. So the point is...the point...I think really this is about what Wittrgenstein said: All speech is address, everything you say or think is address TO someone. So the important thing here, at this moment in my writing and my life--I'm 67--it is important to be in some kind of contact with you because now I think I can write fiction. Your book means a great deal to me on various levels, personal (gay), family (Irish -- can't you tell by the name?), professional, etc. So now I can begin to imagine my book. I practically obsess it, even tho I have many other writing projects that should have priority. I'm rambling. So no need to do anything. I like being able, through this form, to write you from time to time. Thank you. Good cheer to you! David (O'Neill) Kundtz (www.stopping.com)
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