The Third Policeman

The Third Policeman

Paperback Harper Perennial Modern Classics

By (author) Flann O'Brien

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  • Publisher: HarperPerennial
  • Format: Paperback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 16mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 16 April 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0007247176
  • ISBN 13: 9780007247172
  • Edition: 7000
  • Edition statement: Reissue.
  • Sales rank: 6,507

Product description

A masterpiece of black humour from the renown comic and acclaimed author of 'At Swim-Two-Birds' - Flann O'Brien. A thriller, a hilarious comic satire about an archetypal village police force, a surrealistic vision of eternity, the story of a tender, brief, unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle, and a chilling fable of unending guilt, 'The Third Policeman' is comparable only to 'Alice in Wonderland' as an allegory of the absurd. Distinguished by endless comic invention and its delicate balancing of logic and fantasy, 'The Third Policeman' is unique in the English language.

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Author information

Flann O'Brien was one of the many pseudonyms of Brian O'Nolan, author of the classic novel 'At Swim- Two-Birds' and, under the name Myles na Gopaleen, writer of a celebrated satirical column in the Irish Times which appeared daily for almost thirty years. Highly praised by Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, amongst others, O'Brien is regarded as one of the great comic writers of the twentieth century. He died in 1966.

Review quote

'Flann O'Brien learned from Joyce the art of tuning language to a lyrical pitch, which he could then turn to his purpose, whether it was to be plain foolery, unconcealed indignation or high comedy. The best of his contemporaries and many subsequent Irish writers have much to thank him for.' Sunday Times 'Flann O'Brien is inventive, his storytelling is swift and sure, making the eccentric seem natural and the commonplace hilarious.' The Times 'Even with "Ulysses" and "Finnegans Wake" behind him, James Joyce might have been envious.' Observer 'Wonderful. "The Third Policeman" is a great masterpiece of black humour.' George Mackay Brown

Back cover copy

The Third Policeman is Flann O'Brien's 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.