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Subject: Re: names

karen caoilfhionn
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Date Posted: Sun, Apr 30 2006, 10:12:26 GMT
In reply to: Jamie O'Neill 's message, "Re: names" on Thu, Mar 16 2006, 20:45:06 GMT

mr. o'neill,

i wondered if you gave doyler a first name so close to his last name for a specific reason. the only thing i could come up with is that his alcoholic father was too lazy too name him, too busy drinking, but his mother seemed to love him very much, and i thought if laziness were the issue that she would choose a name. it seems silly as i write it, but i wondered about his name for the whole story.

also, i loved jim's last name, he the son of the man who (i don't remember the exact quote) was too lazy to have remembered "the rest of his name."

thank you so much for writing at swim, two boys. i wish i had read a book like that when i was jim and doyler's age. it would have covered coming out and finding my irish heritage at the same time! it really is a wonderful, powerful book, and i must apologize for alternately praising and cursing you through the first half (i love to read, but my goodness those old words gave my brain some exercise!) strangely, as the book went on and i got to know the characters i could guess the meaning depending on the character that these (to me) unfamiliar words went with. i read the last 20 pages at least a dozen times. the part where jim stops seeing/looking for doyler just kills me every time, it is so beautiful and so full of love and grief.

i've never been but a few miles out of the state of california (in the u.s.), where i live, but two years ago my daughter and i went to ireland. we stayed in dun laoghaire and went to the area around st. stephen's green and kilmainhaim gaol several times. my grandmother had told me stories about growing up near grafton street, and when the black and tans came shooting they would put mattresses and blankets up against the windows of their flat. i'm grateful that i went because when i found your book last month i could see all the places in story in my mind.

i should probably also thank you because at swim helped to ease my "brokeback mountain" obsession. of course, now i see doyler and jim everywhere i go, and wonder how nancy's baby is growing...

karen caoilfhionn

>>I think it's actually Sean Bean Bocht... sean = old,
>>bean=woman bocht=poor
>That's true of them as separate words, but sean
>(pronounced shan) moderates the first letters of the
>words it qualifies: it adds a h. So, spelt out
>properly, it's sean bhean bhocht, which is pronounced
>shan van vokt. End of Irish lesson! (And is it any
>wonder nobody really wants to learn it here?)

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