The Third Policeman
Introduction by Denis Donoghue
Collection John F. Byrne Literature Series
The Third Policeman is Flann O'Brien's brilliantly dark comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence. 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 theories 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 found soul named "Joe," he grapples with the riddles and contradictions that three eccentric policeman present to him.
The last of O'Brien's novels to be published, The Third Policeman joins O'Brien's other fiction (At Swim-Two-Birds, The Poor Mouth, The Hard Life, The Best of Myles, and The Dalkey Archive) to ensure his place, along with James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as one of Ireland's great comic geniuses.
Nb of pages 212 p.
Publication Date 01 March 1999
Nb of pages 212
Dimensions 5.5 x 8 in.
List Price $13.95
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. Divney was a strong civil man but he was lazy and idle-minded. He was personally responsible for the whole idea in the first place. It was he who told me to bring my spade. He was the one who gave the orders on the occasion and also the explanations when they were called for.
"As with Scott Fitzgerald, there is a brilliant ease in his prose, a poignant grace glimmering off every page." -John Updike
"If we don't cherish the work of Flann O'Brien we are stupid fools who don't deserve to have great men. Flann O'Brien is a very great man." -Anthony Burgess
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Genres : Fiction : Europe : British and Irish
Genres : Fiction : Classics and Modernism
Countries : Ireland