LITERATURE: At Swim-Two-Birds – Finale

Please do forgive the expletive on the prior lit posting, but it was quite an awesome reading experience.

I realize that I’ve missed several things in this book, though I got so much out of it that it would have been a literary overdose to absorb it all.  The ending remarks:

Evil is even, truth is an odd number and eath is a full stop. (p. 314)

I never quite got the number thing, though it seemed like the Pooka ran his life by it.  The other thing that might have gone over my head at the time is that while I picked out the elements of writing, it was intended by O’Brien to be a spoof thereof, and likely a good poke at the reviewers and literary critics of his time.  The entire book is written with the rules in mind, knowing the borders, and then merrily dancing over and under and around them.

O’Brien’s close to the story is a happy one for the young narrator/writer, for the author Trellis–despite his ordeals, and for us as readers.  I feel that he is even saying, in his closing paragraphs, that every one is different, every one of us has quirks and talents and flaws.  Now there’s no deep meaning to O’Brien’s words–he wants us to take them as he gives them to us and interpret it for ourself.

I’m so happy that I was prodded into finishing this novel.  The premise that we needn’t go by the opinion of others as to what has literary value is b.s.  The first half of the novel would never have rolled into the wonder of the second for me had I not been encouraged to continue.  Thanks, guys.

This entry was posted in LITERATURE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.