‘Weren’t you never out for an easy dip?’ he asked . . . ‘I don’t mean the baths, I mean with a pal. For a lark like.’
Out at the Forty Foot, that great jut of Dublin rock where gentlemen bathe in the scandalous nude, two boys meet day after day. There they make a pact: that Doyler will teach Jim to swim, and in a year, they will swim the bay to the distant beacon of the Muglins rock, to raise the Green and claim it for themselves. As a turbulent year drives inexorably towards the Easter Rising of 1916 and Ireland sets forth on a path to uncertain glory, a tender, secret love story unfolds. Written with verve and mastery in a modern Irish tradition descended from James Joyce and Flann O’Brien, At Swim, Two Boys is a shimmering novel of unforgettable ambition, intensity and humanity.
‘One of the greatest Irish novels ever written’ David Marcus
‘The music of Jamie O’Neill’s prose creates a new Irish symphony’ Peter Ackroyd
‘Heartachingly beautiful’ Independent on Sunday
‘A vivid picture of human freedom’ Sunday Times