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If you are already well-versed, if that's possible, in Flann O'Brien's writings and wish to expand a bit more, certainly purchase it. However, if you are less acquainted with his body of work, start elsewhere.
Edited by Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper Translations from the Irish by Jack Fennell Dalkey Archive, 2013
Often a collection of short fiction is the place to start if you wish you wish to begin to discover a writer unfamiliar to you. For example, you could begin to explore Joyce with Dubliners, or Beckett with the Complete Short Prose. Not so in this case. This book is for fans and scholars. If you are not yet a fan, you will be shortly, but please: start with At Swim, Two Birds.
That said, Dalkey Archive has done great service by rescuing these stories. Several of them are so vivid and appealing that I expect that they will now be anthologized for as long as the human race hangs on. I am thinking of “John Duffy’s Brother” and especially “Scenes in a Novel”, which experiments with the device of characters in rebellion against their novel, prefiguring At Swim, Two Birds.
The story that impressed me most was “Drink and Time in Dublin” -- a relentless and unsparing account of going on a bender. My god, but the man tells a lot of the truth. (When I visited the Writer’s Museum in Dublin, I went up to the attendant and said very earnestly that I wished to visit all the places in Dublin associated with the life of Flann O’Brien. The gentleman shook his head at me and said, “You couldn’t possibly, you’d die a’ alcohol poisoning.”)
“Slattery’s Sago Saga”, the forty-one page manuscript of O’Brien’s last unfinished novel -- about a plan to remove all the potatoes from Ireland and replace them with sago -- is a joy and a frolic. If there turns out to be an afterlife, you will find me in the pub of that establishment, begging Flann O’Brien to tell me the rest of the story.
This book is a well edited collection of short works (and an unfinished novel) by the great O' Brien. It might appeal more to Flanneurs than to an audience less versed in O' Brien's style. I was glad to be able to read a good number of texts by Flann before Flann, where the genius of his later works shines through. The translations from the Irish are very good, and provide a missing link between Flann's English language novels and An Beal Bocht. Warmly recommended
Irland ist ein feuchtes Gebiet. Das bestreitet wohl niemand. Damit Innen und Außen in Einklang kommen, gibt es auch viele Kneipen. Dort wird hauptsächlich Alkohol konsumiert. (Wem das zuwider, der sollte dies Buch mehrmals lesen, bis er/sie begreift, was dern Genuss ausmacht & wie groß der ist) Davon kündet das Werk. & das alles ganz schlimm ist.