Satirical Irish language novel by Myles na Gopaleen (aka Flann O'Brien aka Brian O'Nolan). "An Béal Bocht" translates as "The Poor Mouth", and refers to the practice of exaggerating the scale of your misfortune.

The book is presented as the transcribed narrative of a native Gaelic speaker's life and times, in the style of many volumes which had been published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of these, Peig, went on to torment Irish schoolgoers for decades to come. An Béal Bocht, however, is entirely fabricated by O'Brien, although he presents himself as the editor, rather than author.

The story itself is a general catalogue of the misery experienced by the peasants in a small village in the west of Ireland. One of the ignominies experienced by the narrator include having to move into the shed because the family's pig had grown too large to be accommodated there.

The satire is at its sharpest when the narrator describes the Gaelgeóirs who visit his village in order to bask in the supreme Gaelicness of it all. Although he himself has spoken nothing but Gaelic his entire life, he believes these arrivistes must be more committed to the language than himself, and thus more truly Gaelic. To appreciate the satire, one really needs to know a little about the Gaelic Revival, and it helps if you've been subjected to the Irish school system's method of teaching the Irish language.

The novel is also available in translation. Some say that it can only be fully appreciated in Irish, but I would contend that there is at least one passage which is greatly enhanced by being rendered in English. In the original text, the narrator lists some of the Irish names assumed by the Gaelgeóirs, including the likes of "An Cíaróg Eile" and "An tUiseal Ginideach". In the English translation, the meanings of these names are laid out plainly: "The Other Beetle", and "The Dative Case".

All in all, one of the most comprehensive satires on Gaelic Revival, and in fact, the whole Irish national project.

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