LITERATURE: At Swim-Two-Birds – Techniques

O’Brien, with this novel, has shown that he knows the conventional form and elements of story, and therefore has become quite expert at twisting and flaunting them.  His novel approach of the many-faceted seemingly unrelated plot paths is even more complicated with his method of tieing a semblance of story together. 

One of the interesting ploys is to use "notations" to make a flat statement that might otherwise be presented in imagery or standard infodump form:

A Tuesday evening at the Red Swan, example of:  In the darkness of the early night Trellis arose from his bead and drew a trousers over the bulging exuberance of his night-clothes, swaying on his white worthless legs.

Nature of trousers: Narrow-legged, out-moded, the pre-war class.  (p. 42)

Offered as an author’s manuscript note, by allowing it in, there is no necessity of writing it in another form, weaving it into the story by conventional methods.  It’s rather ingenius.

But then there’s also the question of knowing some of the information that an author doesn’t always include.  Too, the question of why the author (and which author?  O’Brien his character of the young novelist?) gives us what he does. 

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