I hadn’t heard of At Swim-Two-Birds (1938) or Flann O’Brien/Brian O’Nolan before the TIME critics’ list. But since then I’ve read that O’Brien’s work is derivative of Joyce’s, which he tacitly defends in his epigraph from Heracles (Euripides),
For all things change, making way for each other,
and that Brendan Gleeson is making his directorial debut with a film adaptation due to be released in 2011. The cast includes Michael Fassbender, Cillian Murphy, Colin Farrell, Johnathan Rhys Meyers and Garbriel Byrne. Clearly, Mad Eye knows some people.
I’ve had a peep at the first few pages and At Swim-Two-Birds is wickedly funny. Joyce is all over it, but not in the way I expected. O’Brien has turned up the volume on Joyce and is taking the piss. McCool’s ‘eye hair’ and ‘eye cloth’ had me mentally rolling on the floor. It’s a real crack up.
And of-course, the protagonist is a committed lush and doesn’t wash. Is this a requirement of Irish genius?