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The Third Policeman

by Flann O'Brien

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9071132,563 (4.01)244
Flann O'Brien's most popular and surrealistic novel concerns an imaginary, hellish village police force and a local murder. Weird, satirical, and very funny, its popularity has suddenly increased after the novel was featured in the October 2005 episode of the hit television series Lost.
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» See also 244 mentions

English (108)  Spanish (1)  Greek (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
I stumbled on this I don't know how, but what a fortuitous chance! The story of an irish guy besotted with the fictional philosopher de Selby (lots of footnotes / excerpts about the fantastical de Selby). Our character becomes enamored a plan to steal a strong box full of money in an old man's house and things don't go well. Soon he is a fairly twisted kind of Ireland with odd policemen constantly checking mysterious dials and visiting an intriguing eternity nearby. I hesitate to describe too much but this one is re-reader for sure. I adored this book. ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
I first read "The Third Policeman" 50 years ago. Then, I found it confusing but humorous; now, I find it comparable to "Crock of Gold" by James Stephens but with more playful use of language. It's a surreal fantasy, well within the Irish fable tradition, with a bit of a mystery. What caught my eye in this reading was the wild use of words (similar to the humor of Norm Crosby) and quirky metaphors. The central story, about a murder in the execution of a robbery and the recovery of the loot, is almost secondary to the surreal encounters in a magical landscape. I enjoyed suspending my disbelief and going with the flow. ( )
  kewing | Mar 28, 2022 |
I read it. I may read it again. I am still confused. I will reserve judgment until that time.
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
A comic novel that has a dream-like quality and is also fable-like. The main character commits a murder in the first few pages. After some unnerving encounters he ends up at a police station where people merge with their bicycles and bicycles merge with their humans. They explore an underground world where anything is possible and the tensions is high when he is considered guilty. The section on the joy of riding the perfect bicycle is marvellous. Plenty that made me laugh out loud and other sections that made no sense at all. ( )
  CarolKub | Dec 25, 2021 |
audio fiction (3.5+ hrs), A thief/murderer has a surreal dreamlike experience with the Irish police.

I loved the narration (at 0.75 speed), it had terrific deadpan delivery; I wasn't able to follow the story as well due to my being easily distracted as well as the frequent digressions and nonsensical characters, but I enjoyed it. Reminds me a lot of Alice's adventures through the looking glass, with every character affected by his own unique madness. ( )
  reader1009 | Dec 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
O'Brien, Flannprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bantock, NickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donoghue, DenisAfterword, Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hedlund, MagnusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norton, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowohlt, HarryTranslatorsecondary 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
First words
Not everybody knows how I killed old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade; but first it is better to speak of my friendship with John Divney because it was he who first knocked old Mathers down by giving him a great blow in the neck with a special bicycle-pump which he manufactured himself out of a hollow iron bar.
The silence in the room was so unusually quiet that the beginning of it seemed rather loud when the utter stillness of the end of it had been encountered.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Flann O'Brien's most popular and surrealistic novel concerns an imaginary, hellish village police force and a local murder. Weird, satirical, and very funny, its popularity has suddenly increased after the novel was featured in the October 2005 episode of the hit television series Lost.

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Haiku summary
a book once read -- upside down | stories get -- dead forgotten

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Average: (4.01)
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