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Subject: Another thank-you


Author:
Ben
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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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