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The Hard Life (1961)

by Flann O'Brien

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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500537,889 (3.65)4
Subtitled "An Exegesis of Squalor," The Hard Life is a sober farce from a master of Irish comic fiction. Set in Dublin at the turn of the century, the novel does involve squalor--illness, alcoholism, unemployment, bodily functions, crime, illicit sex--but also investigates such diverse topics as Church history, tightrope walking, and the pressing need for public toilets for ladies. The Hard Life is straight-faced entertainment that conceals in laughter its own devious and wicked satire by one of the best known Irish writers of the 20th century.… (more)
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» See also 4 mentions

English (4)  German (1)  All languages (5)
Showing 4 of 4
Well written and entertaining but somehow less than what I was expecting. Could have been or perhaps was better meant as a short story. ( )
  colligan | Nov 24, 2020 |
The most "normal" of his books, and not witty enough. Go for The third policeman instead, Poor mouth and At swim-two-birds. They are all much more fantastic, masterpieces all and about the best there is. This is not, it started promising but soon faded out. I find I must reread The third policeman, maybe the funniest book ever written. ( )
  ansedor | Oct 13, 2020 |
Pretty good, but nowhere near the brilliance of The Third Policeman or The Dalkey Archive. ( )
  KatrinkaV | Mar 17, 2017 |
A biting satire of Irish middle-class life, at once funny and sad, in a heartless and ruthless way that Joyce could never manage. If this book has any sort of weakness at all, it’s that far too much of it is given over to the theological arguments of the Uncle and the German Jesuit Father Fahrt. Even with this weakness—or perhaps because of it—The Hard Life is both intelligent and hugely funny. ( )
  cornerhouse | May 11, 2009 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
O'Brien, FlannAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Böll, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Böll, HeinrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
All the persons in this book are real

and none is fictitious

even in part
Dedication
I honourably present to

GRAHAM GREENE

whose own forms of gloom I admire,

this misterpiece
First words
It is not that I half knew my mother.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Subtitled "An Exegesis of Squalor," The Hard Life is a sober farce from a master of Irish comic fiction. Set in Dublin at the turn of the century, the novel does involve squalor--illness, alcoholism, unemployment, bodily functions, crime, illicit sex--but also investigates such diverse topics as Church history, tightrope walking, and the pressing need for public toilets for ladies. The Hard Life is straight-faced entertainment that conceals in laughter its own devious and wicked satire by one of the best known Irish writers of the 20th century.

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Average: (3.65)
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