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An Béal Bocht
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An Béal Bocht

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,776 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Brilliant satire on Gaeltacht and lugubrious Gaeltacht memoirists.
Paperback, 114 pages
Published by Mercier Press (first published 1941)
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David Katzman
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have quite the man-crush on Flann O’Brien. Call it a bro-mance if you wish. I’m making my way through all his work, including his newspaper columns. There’s something so anti-twenty-first-century about his use of multiple pseudonyms and personas in our look-at-me-age of “FACEBOOK STATUS: Pooping right now.” Here we have Brian O’Nolan who wrote his novels as Flann O’Brien and his newspaper column as a character Myles na Gopaleen (think mid-century Stephen Colbert). He even allegedly wrote lette ...more
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yesyesyes! Flawless, hilarious, scathing, blistering satire* of Irish/English colonialism of the Gaels and the Gaelic tongue. The funniest book you will read this or any other day. Not a rib-tickler or a knee-slapper but a whole body- and soul-shaker. Books like this make you glad to be a human being, alive and well and of unsound mind. Can you tell I liked it? Read this book. It's not even very long. Laughter destroys empires and pierces little lethal holes in the armor of imposed ideologies, l ...more
Flann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan) is better known for his first two novels At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman, which are still the best starting points for anyone who has never read him. This comic novella was written in Gaelic and first published in 1941, but was not translated into English until after his death.

The Poor Mouth is a parody of the Gaelic novels that were fashionable in De Valera's Ireland, and as such is full of the cliches of the genre - starving peasants living in houses sha
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plaid Goeth Before the Fall.

A proper yarn, a fable of epically Gaelic proportion (the heroes travel kilometers!), and some running gags about pigs and a certain name—these are but a few of the substantial charms of The Poor Mouth. In ol’ Ireland, where the sun is a mere rumor, the potato the national flower, and the rain only stops long enough to replenish itself with a glass or three of rye, this brutal farce unfolds and takes to task the pride that goes with nationalism and excessive cultural
MJ Nicholls
Better than a bag o' potatoes for breakfast, so it is. Its like in literature will never be seen again!
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-lit
This was a satire about the Irish life told by narrator Bonaparte O'Coonassa (what a name!). There are LOTS of references to potatoes, poverty, drunkenness, perpetual rainfall and the Gaelic language issue. It's a very grim book but manages to be quite funny because of the narrator's writing style. A very good introduction to Flann O'Brien, in my opinion.
Alma Castro
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish, classic
Flann O’Brien is sinisterly funny in his short novel about the life of Bonaparte O'Coonassa. The story is based in a rural area in the West of Ireland and it is home to the most Gaelic residents known to Ireland. O’Brien satirizes the Gaelic roots of these residents by using the carnivalesque to exaggerate their living conditions.
All of the residents of Corkadoragha are extremely poor and they only have potatoes to eat. They share their homes with animals even though they cannot stand the smell
Emma Flanagan
The Poor Mouth, originally published in Irish under the title An Beal Bocht and the pseudonym Myles na gCopaleen, it is considered one of the great works of modern Irish literature. It is a satirical fictional autobiography of Bonaparte O'Coonassa, born in a cabin in a fictitious village called Corkadoragha in western Ireland equally renowned for its beauty and the abject poverty of its residents.

It is a parody of autobiographies of life in the Gaeltact and on the islands off the west coast whi
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although much of the American public may be unaware of the incredible talent that was Myles naGopaleen, Brian O'Nolan, Flann O'Brien (he wrote under many, many pseudonyms) I sincerely think that anyone who loves humour, surrealism, etc. is missing out if you don't at least sample this man's writing.

It's been said many times that O'Nolan (I believe that's his birth name)and his good friend, James Joyce, used to sit with each other for hours, without uttering a word. I don't know if this is true,
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
Pretty much perfect weird, short satire of the wretchedly poor turn-of-the-20th-century rural Irish life. Every meal is potatoes, every day is a downpour, and no one knows anything about the outside world.

Flann O'Brien's writing is tough to describe - it's funny without really being comic, surreal but about daily life. This one is less plotted than his longer novels, but it's a good intro to O'Brien, too, at just over 100 pages.
’La boca pobre’ es un puro disparate. Desde el primer momento, Flann O’Brien te introduce en un juego caracterizado por la parodia, llegando al ridículo en muchos casos, de las costumbres y tradiciones más típicas del folclore irlandés. En esta historia, los irlandeses se alimentan solo de patatas, que además es el único alimento que les apetece; les gusta ser pobres, se regodean en sus miserias, porque el buen gaélico asume lo que la vida le trae; viven en el campo, dando más importancia a sus ...more
Jul 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
In this comic work, Flann O’Brien satirizes the "Gaeltacht autobiography", a literary genre that was popular in Ireland in the first half of the twentieth century, and which emphasized misery and impoverishment. In works such as these, the speaker will give voice, explicitly or implicitly, to doubts that anyone could have experienced worse conditions than those he or she is describing (Angela's Ashes comes to mind as a recent instance of this sort of narrative).

In this fictional memoir, O’Brien
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro muy gaélico con gente muy gaélica.

Me ha gustado bastante, me he reído con la ironía de O'Nolan, pero he tardado bastante en leérmelo (creo que tengo un problema con los libros de menos de 150 páginas). Supongo que el libro gusta todavía más si te has leído alguno de los libros que parodia (aunque yo no me he leído "Tirant Lo Blanc" y eso no me ha impedido leer "El Quijote").

Lo que sí me ha gustado muchísimo de esta edición (a parte de estar muy bien cuidada) es el traductor y sus notas
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chím nach bhfuil aon idirdhealú anseo idir ráitis ar An Béal Bocht agus an t-aistriúchán The Poor Mouth. Táim ag léamh An Béal Bocht athuair......bhaineas triall é a léamh nuiar a (ath-)thosaigh mé Gaeilge a fhoghlaim ach b'éigean dom cuardach a chur ar bheagnach gach re fhocal ag an am!
Is aoibheann liom greann agus sruth an scéil, an stór fhocail agus an t-aoir nimhneach ar seandhearcadh na teanga.
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short novel, written by Brian O’Neal (whose most commonly used pen name was Flann O’Brien) under the pseudonym Miles na gCopaleen, was written in Irish Gaelic and later translated, thus being subject to all the vagaries associated with translations. It is a parody on the style of works of the Irish literary revival, his satire being aimed at those who want to romanticize the Gaelic people and culture. In the novel, the author exaggerates the poverty, the ignorance, the fatalism, the drunken ...more
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Establishes Flann "the man" O'Brien as one of my favorite authors, the most underappreciated of the Irish triumvirate (Plus JJ and Sammy Beck) and easily the funniest. Well... I mean, like, if Joyce made you giggle in the head, and Beckett with your heart, then Flann's all about the belly laugh. The muppet in lit's balcony is Flann, and here, he calls bullshit on the Gaelic Novel (take that, um... poor, subjugated underclass) with infectious, wicked, and just plain WRONG aplomb, by Gawd.

And he w
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Very funny. A satirical take on a fictional Gaelic community somewhere in the West of Ireland. Really a series of short stories with recurrent themes - poverty, allowing the pigs to sleep indoors for the warmth, the incessant rain and an endless diet of potatoes. Those who are determined to preserve the quaint Gaelic language are mercilessly mocked, but the oppression and imprisonment by foreigners which is repeated through the generations, brings an edge to the mirth.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marvellous. Accurate in both portrayal and mockery of Ireland and the Irish in that I could identify with and laugh at every word. To convey such a powerful message of the hardship suffered through a humorous and enjoyable read is quite a feat.
The culture pushed to the point of farce was a great tool in illuminating the reality of what was a very real country-wide suffering.
A fast read, The Poor Mouth is hard hitting and yet, conversely, is a warm and inviting read.
J.M. Hushour
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Flann O'Brien desecrates his own people in this hilarious and mockingly evil book which pokes black-natured fun at the Gaeltacht genre of Irish fiction. It is the tale of Bonaparte O'Coonassa who lives in the west Irish village of Corkadoragha where boots are unknown and feared, the terrible Sea-cat stalks the night, and Gaels drop dead in droves at every public function featured. The likes of this will never be there again! Highly, highly recommended.
Jeff Jackson
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
****1/2 stars. Inspired lunacy, pitch-black satire, and prose worthy of Beckett. Plus the Sea-Cat. Not as good as At-Swim-Two-Birds or The Third Policeman, but it belongs in their company.
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: laugh-riots
Originally written in Gaelic!

Graham P
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Woe to him who eats the bog."

This is a unique short novel. It is a satire about tragedy and poverty, a two-faced insult at one's own country and national pride. Flann O'Brien is a hilarious, cruel man. In these 110 pages, there is so much suffering and disillusion, but he plays it off like a slapstick farce complete with child abuse, death by bodily gas, and murder. But like no author can, O'Brien deviates the comedy with such sinister dexterity, and shoves the reader into a stark reminder of t
Nallasivan V.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Brilliant and irreverent parody which I fear I didn't understand completely (at least not all its references). The book is apparently a parody on Gaelic autobiographies about poverty and rural life during the Irish famines. In some parts, it is an absurd exaggerated comedy of manners in the tradition of Wodehouse. In other parts, it feels like some of the earlier works of Naipaul, blending comical realism with satire. If Naipaul found his humour from the perceived "backwardness" of Caribbean i ...more
Claire Shannon
Totally mad, but I can understand why my father loved it, about 'broth o' the boy' Irish men of a certain age and tongue in cheek humour about the way they live and how close their lives are to mythology.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such fun
Antonio Delgado
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witty and cynical this novel explores to what extend nationalism is nothing but a farce. The language that permeates it exemplifies its comic demise.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, irish
Extremely funny and sarcastic but not as good as The Third Policeman.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not familiar with the Irish novel tradition, but this gets five stars purely for chapter 4, the most hilarious new speaker discourse I've ever read.
The Fat
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another hilarious novel from the master.
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its likes will not be there again!
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