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The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien

The Third Policeman (original 1967; edition 2002)

by Flann O'Brien

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2,916801,975 (4.02)183
Title:The Third Policeman
Authors:Flann O'Brien
Info:Dalkey Archive Pr (2002), Edition: Second printing, Paperback, 200 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien (1967)


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English (76)  Spanish (1)  Greek (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
From bizarre fantasy to sheer nonsense indeed...I really enjoyed the first part of the book, and the end, but the middle section was quite bewildering. I enjoyed the nonsense, but wonder if I wasn't quite in on the joke. I do like the idea that the world isn't spherical, but is in fact shaped like a sausage though! ( )
  ellohull | Feb 10, 2016 |
A weird book. I didn't get anything from it. Pages and pages of rambling nonsense. If you're not looking to gain something from each book you read, and a book's task is just to help you pass the time, then go ahead. ( )
  jculkin | Feb 1, 2016 |
Silly, surreal and sinister, it's long since past time that I got around to reading it. I was always a big fan of At Swim Two Birds and The Best Of Myles, so it's a mystery why it took me this long. Anyway, a work of genius, published after its' author's death and every bit as influential on modern literature and culture as, say, contemporaries and admirers Joyce and Beckett. The story of a murderer who finds himself confronted with his victim, apparently alive, and who visits a police station and the people and the things he discovers there, by turns inane and extraordinary, amazingly sublime and deeply creepy. Extremely funny, with satirical interpretations of physics and logic and philosophy as well as the celebrated footnotes concerning the celebrated De Selby, but ultimately rather chilling and nightmarish, it ranks as one of the great works of 20th Century literature, let alone perhaps the greatest work of 20th Century fantasy.

This edition comes with some additional material, including a potted biography of Brian Nolan and some pieces on the text itself. Appropriately enough, the short piece on De Selby reads almost exactly like a De Selbian footnote. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
This starts off as normal as you like and then suddenly, like Alice down the rabbit hole while taking LSD, takes you on a mind-bending and, at times, literarily taxing voyage into the bizarre towards an ending that has a great twist followed by a wry comment on eternity.

I could probably just stop there…

…but I won’t, because there’s more to say about this quirky novel which almost never got published. O’Brien explores a theme which many of us will have to explore personally at some point. Well, all of us actually. And in doing so, raises some important questions, such as how important bicycles actually might be for the future of humanity.

I think that might just about do it. Oh, other than to say that if you, like me, find the bonkers nature of events and conversations once you go down the rabbit hole a tad tedious, have a rethink about that when you’ve got to the end. It put things in perspective for me and made me grateful that tedium is one thing I’m pretty sure I won’t have to endure.

Hope you can say the same thing. ( )
  arukiyomi | Oct 11, 2015 |
In and out, in and out the window. Flann O'Brien weaves his surreal reality complete with bogus footnotes concerning the lunatic ramblings of a bird brained ontologist, people who turn into bicycles through prolonged contact, and bicycles who turn into people, a general obsession with bicycles, 2D police stations, a legion of one-legged vigilantes, miniature boxes whose contents drive one to madness, a murderer who may or may not meet the man he has murdered. Thoroughly insane, deeply darkly hilarious, this book is a must for readers who like their drollery tinged with nightmare, or conversely, like their nightmares tinged with drollery. If you think Poe and Dostoevsky are overlooked as humorist, you will probably think O'Brien is a scream. Though he is often compared to his compatriot and contemporary, Joyce, I see little likeness except for a taste for the random and absurd. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
O'Brien, Flannprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hedlund, MagnusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Human existence being an hallucination containing in itself the secondary hallucinations of day and night (the latter an insanitary condition of the atmosphere due to accretions of black air) it ill becomes any man of sense to be concerned at the illusory approach of the supreme hallucination known as death."
~ de Selby
"Since the affairs of men rest still uncertain,/ Let's reason with the worst that may befall."
~ Shakespeare
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Not everybody knows how I killed old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade;
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 156478214X, Paperback)

A comic trip through hell in Ireland, as told by a murderer, The Third Policeman is another inspired bit of confusing and comic lunacy from the warped imagination and lovably demented pen of Flann O'Brien, author of At Swim-Two-Birds. There's even a small chance you'll figure out what's going on if you read the publisher's note that appears on the last page.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:26 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and brutal murder, the novel follows him and his adventures in a two-dimensional police station where, through the writings of the scientist/philosopher de Selby, he is introduced to "Atomic Theory" and its relation to bicycles, the existence of eternity (which turns out to be just down the road), and de Selby's view that the earth is not round but "sausage-shaped." With the help of his newly discovered soul, named "Joe," he grapples with the riddles and contradictions that three eccentric policemen present to him.--From publisher's description.… (more)

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