Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds has been a rara avis (Anthony Burgess refers to it as The Holy Writ) ever since it was published in 1951. Since then The Hard Life appeared here (1962) and now, posthumously, this book length conundrum, full of poker-faced perplexities and philosophic culs de sac...indeed ""a great curiosity...a very difficult piece of puzzledom, a snorter."" Superficially it would seem that the narrator (who has an equally articulate soul called Joe) has killed a miserly old farmer and now is taking off with the contents of his strong box. In various encounters to follow, he comes up against two policemen, the leader of a breed of ""hoppy men,"" and finally the third policeman. Much of the tediously quirky discussion deals with O'Brien's mystery- mania about bicycles and their anthropocentric properties...O'Brien's a quare fellow whose comic gifts and cosmic concerns may attract a coteric readership which will admire the book for its elasticity of words and ideas...given that ""talk is surely the handiwork of wisdom because not one word of it do I understand."" A word--to the wise?