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Praised as a work of wild, vaulting ambition and achievement by Entertainment Weekly, Jamie ONeills first novel invites comparison to such literary greats as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Charles Dickens.
Set during the year preceding the Easter Uprising of 1916Irelands brave but fractured revolt against British ruleAt Swim, Two Boys is a tender, tragic love story and a brilliant depiction of people caught in the tide of history. Powerful and artful, and ten years in the writing, it is a masterwork from Jamie ONeill.
Jim Mack is a nave young scholar and the son of a foolish, aspiring shopkeeper. Doyler Doyle is the rough-diamond sonrevolutionary and blasphemousof Mr. Macks old army pal. Out at the Forty Foot, that great jut of rock where gentlemen bathe in the nude, the two boys make a pact: Doyler will teach Jim to swim, and in a year, on Easter of 1916, they will swim to the distant beacon of Muglins Rock and claim that island for themselves. All the while Mr. Mack, who has grand plans for a corner shop empire, remains unaware of the depth of the boys burgeoning friendship and of the changing landscape of a nation.