The Third Policeman

By Flann O'Brien; Denis Donoghue (Introduction by)
(Dalkey Archive Press, Paperback, 9781564782144, 200pp.)

Publication Date: March 1999

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Description

"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.




About the Author
Flann O'Brien, whose real name was Brian O'Nolan, also wrote under the pen name of Myles na Gopaleen. He was born in 1911 in County Tyrone. A resident of Dublin, he graduated from University College after a brilliant career as a student (editing a magazine called Blather) and joined the Civil Service, in which he eventually attained a senior position. He wrote throughout his life, which ended in Dublin on April 1, 1966. His other novels include The Dalkey Archive, The Third Policeman, The Hard Life, and The Poor Mouth, all available from Dalkey Archive Press. Also available are three volumes of his newspaper columns: The Best of Myles, Further Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn, and At War.

Denis Donoghue is University Professor and Henry James Chair of English and American Letters at New York University.
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