Review: I had mixed feelings about this book, because I’m just the sort of person who prefers to find books on my own whether it’s gay fiction or not. To read and research them beforehand and decide if I wish to read them. This was a gift to me by a very old and dear Irish friend who absolutely loved it. For him, more than for the book itself, I read it. I am infinitely glad I did.
“At Swim, Two Boys” was brilliant in providing a setting and mood of this period in Irish history, and the bittersweet aspect of love, obligation, and the helplessness one feels towards perceived inevitability. Though some readers laboured with portions of the dialect, since I’m quite used to hearing it from the above friend, it wasn’t a problem for me.
My conclusion towards it reflects some of my own feelings about my writing, which can contain difficult subjects. Just like in life, even when the most horrible and unthinkable happens, is one suppose to lament eternally in a way others think proper, or will you write it as you’ve experienced and/or observed? Whether a reader identifies with your way of writing your story, shouldn’t keep you from writing the way you see fit. I think Jamie O’Neill did that exceptionally well. An outstanding example of thought-provoking fiction, not just gay fiction.
Note: I was fortunate to have a first edition local printing, as some have remarked the changes made to later editions.