Flann O’Brien – At Swim-Two-Birds

One of the great things I often find about the modernists is that, although we might have to read them with intense concentration to keep any kind of grasp on the narrative as it slips and slides between different streams of consciousness, we’re not always necessarily reading about the highest of human ideals. Think of Joyce’s Ulysses for instance: Leopold and Molly’s sexual desire; Joyce’s constant punning and wordplay; toilet visits; these are all recorded. In this month’s read – Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds – we had to contend with that elusive narrative as well as the narrator’s drunken belching.

Indeed, never have I seen the group so enraptured than when they listened to Steve’s (who also attend a Finnegan’s Wake reading group) incredibly lucid run through of the numerous narratives. I, for one, am happy to be ‘challenged’ by some of these works as I often endeavour away from the Reader’s group, and it’s clear that the readers who had not encountered anything like this before, were as well. What I was also happy to be challenged by was the invigorating discussion on how the ‘canon’ continually excludes women, and how future reads might be inspired, not just by the men who heralded modernism, but the women as well.


Please note that there has been a change in the scheduling. October’s book will now be The Disappeared by Ali Harper, a Leeds-based detective novel published by Harper Collins.

August: Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
September: At Swim-Two-Birds – Flann O’Brien
October: The Disappeared – Ali Harper
November: Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord – Louis de Bernieres
December: The Hare With the Amber Eyes – Edmund de Waal

For more information please contact Liam on [email protected]

Inkwell’s Readers Group meets at Inkwell every third Saturday at 11am. We hope you can join us at our next meet up on September Oct 20th 2018