At Swim, Two Boys – Jamie O’Neill

ASTBOur group voted this our favourite book of the year.

There’s a good description of place and time and where else would there be lulls in fighting for the Angelus?

Doyler watching Jim undress says he is scrawny and nerves ‘make him poke up’. Water tracked the hair of his legs, he had a lithe and tanned body and calls Jim a little molly. ‘A chuck on the chin is worth two kisses, they say’

The chaplain speaks of the horned beast, ‘direct not you eyes at naked flesh…a standing dick has no conscience.’

Scrotes brought MacMurrough’s shaft to his lips, ‘like egg gone off’. Congratulate yourself on ability to prostitute them but are ashamed of the desire. The carpenter talks about comrade love.

MacMurrough ‘they undress with their tail to you and flourish manhood at the end, not realising you’re as keen on their behind as their front.’ The monks police friendship and effect sexual abandon – instead of fumbling with love we fumble in the dark. The joy of knees touching. The policeman buggers him violently in toilet then threatens if he is ever caught again

Kettle talks of Roger Casement, the Irish protestant, tempting us to become traitors. Parnell and Wilde were the two great scandals of the age, both Irish.

Jim’s father was notorious for never inquiring directions.

Jim’s brother tells him it is OK as he has seen all in the army and that it is ‘going without that will drive you doolally’

Jim goes to confession but the priest assumes it is a girl and the ‘he’ is someone who organised it so Jim assumes it is the worst sin as it is not known about – a thorn in Our Lady’s heart.

Father Taylor speaks of ‘Wild Geese who choose to serve in exile than suffer the alien yoke at home’. Wilde’s speech from the dock defied to the heavens – eulogium, on illicit live that dare not speak its name

Aunt Eva says that the English behaved unforgivably with that man. He had wife and children and was  not just single issue. As for that other buffoom Queensbury……

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