Dalkey Archive Press, Paperback, 9781564781819, 240pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
A wildly comic send-up of Irish literature and culture, "At Swim-Two-Birds" is the story of a young, lazy, and frequently drunk Irish college student who lives with his curmudgeonly uncle in Dublin. When not in bed (where he seems to spend most of his time) or reading he is composing a mischief-filled novel about Dermot Trellis, a second-rate author whose characters ultimately rebel against him and seek vengeance. From drugging him as he sleeps to dropping the ceiling on his head, these figures of Irish myth make Trellis pay dearly for his bad writing. Hilariously funny and inventive, "At Swim-Two-Birds" has influenced generations of writers, opening up new possibilities for what can be done in fiction. It is a true masterpiece of Irish literature.
William H. Gass is the author of four novels Omensetter's Luck, Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife, The Tunnel, and Middle C as well as two volumes of short stories and eight collections of essays. Gass was a professor of philosophy at Washington University from 1966-2000, and Director of the International Writers Center from 1990 until 2000. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the Pen-Nabokov Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and National Book Critics Circle Awards for Criticism in 1985, 1996, and 2003, among others.