Tracking Shit Down, Like I Do

Years ago, when I was waiting for the autistic child I was taking care of to come out of his occupational therapy session, I read a little blurb of sorts about cool books (there was more focus than this) in the L Magazine.  One of the books written about was a meta-fiction by an Irish writer in which a student is writing a book about a writer who is writing a book and whose characters –– stay with me here –– play tricks on the writer in order to gain control of the plot.  This was all the detail I could remember, and while I mostly have spent the past five years not obsessing over this work of literature, it does crop up in my mind from time to time.  Anyway, I decided on a whim to Google it this slow Friday afternoon and even though I’ve done so in the past with no success, I believe I have found the book I have always remembered, which is titled At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien (pseudonym.)

Synopsis, from the Dalkey Archives Press: 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.

Saul Steinberg does Meta.

Saul Steinberg does Meta.

This book sounds just freaking awesome.  I want in.


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