Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book Review: At Swim, Two Boys

I finished Jamie O'Neill's behemoth, ten-years-in-the-making novel last week. It was fabulously, spectacularly good. It tells the story of two young friends who fall in love against the backdrop of the beginnings of the Irish war for independence. The two boys, brash and scarred Doyler and shy and naive Jim, make a pact to swim out to Mugglins rock in the Irish sea on Easter 1916. The entire book is tense with both anticipation for the swim, which acts as a symbol of the revolutionary tensions in Dublin, and the almost painfully slow evolution of the boys' sexuality and relationship. I was absolutely dying for these two boys to have a happy ending; not to give anything away, let's just say I cried in my girlfriend's arms after I finished the book.

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