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The Dalkey Archive Paperback – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; 2nd edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564781720
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564781727
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wit, humor, satire, the exact fall of a Dublin syllable, the ear for the local turn, the flight of fancy that can spin into a Dublin joke or a Limerick limerick--all these are his." --New York Times

"The undoubted humor of [The Dalkey Archive] derives as much from Mr. O'Brien's facile use of language as from the play of his fertile imagination . . . not to be missed." --Library Journal

"Dalkey Archive [Press] has made one reader very happy and likely will intoxicate many others with Flann O'Brien's fine brew of malt, salt, air, heady ideas and rich, ripe prose." --Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Brian O'Nolan wrote under the pen names of Flann O'Brien and 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.

More 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.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
This is a charming, wonderful book, one of my all-time favorites.
James Nawrocki
Coherent, funny at places but it is more of sustained effort than tour-de-force which you have all the rights to expect from O'Brien.
Ford Ka
Need I say more? "The Dalkey Archive" is a work of startling wit and originality, one of my comic favorites!
Pat Magee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Custer on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love Flann O'Brien in both his languages and all his names. No book has ever made me laugh as loud or as long as his An Beal Bocht/The Poor Mouth, but along with the laughter, O'Brien was nudging me to reconsider a few old pieties and truisms.
So too with The Dalkey Archive. Big events overtake a little place and little (though not in their own views!) people must take action. Religion and science collide head-on and the very future of the world-as-we-know-it-in-Dalkey is threatened.
Perhaps a younger person can't appreciate the edge on O'Brien's themes: religion, science, world-threatening geniuses. Perhaps the end of the cold war, the burgeoning of technology and the seeming irrelevance of the Church make the questions raised in Dalkey outdated. What remains, however, is brilliant comedy of the verbal sort, the sort which no one since Perelman and the Marx Brothers has done as well in the USA.
O'Brien is at his best when exploring the ligatures between the brain and the tongue. His dialogues capture perfectly the kind of conversation the Irish are famed for, but O'Brien never fails to make us notice just how many of the words are gratuitous, redundant, fatuous, for all their charm. Moreover, lurking in the verbal pyrotechnics are all manner of fallacy and foolishness: the very thing that is bound to happen when ordinary people are put upon to construct reality out of our few scraps of real information, on our feet, and with a few drinks taken. The "Truth" about religion, science, literature, Ireland, people---as the denizens of Dalkey construct it for themselves--gives us cause for healing laughter as it gently dismantles a few false gods and just as gently exposes the foibles of men and Irishmen.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pat Magee on February 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I first read "The Dalkey Archive" twenty-six years ago, while a graduate student at Trinity College in Dublin. It struck me then, as it strikes me now upon re-reading it (for the second time), as one of the most peculiarly funny books I've ever read. It combines elements of original lunacy and weird science with the resonating touchstones of a uniquely Irish comic sensibility. The story is driven by the madcap schemes of a character named De Selby, who describes himself as "a theologist and a physicist, sciences which embrace many others such as eschatology and astrognosy." De Selby invents a substance which removes all oxygen from the atmosphere (a substance he calls "DMP", the acronym for the Dublin Metropolitan Police) and then discovers that a deoxygenated atmosphere cancels the serial nature of time. The plot moves on from there, with Mick Shaughnessy, a "lowly civil servant", engaging the local constable to help him save the world from De Selby's scheme to deoxygentate the world's atmosphere. In the course of things, "The Dalkey Archive" contains two of the funniest chapters ever written (Chapters 4 and 9): one in which De Selby, Mick Shaughnessy and a drinking companion named Hackett, clad in aqualungs, talk to Saint Augustine (his "Dublin accent was unmistakable") about arcane theological doctrines and the Church Fathers in an underwater cave; the other in which Sergeant Fottrell, the constable, explains to Mick his "Mollycule Theory", the theory that people's personalities become mixed up with those of bicycles through the pounding of man and machine while pedaling down bumpy Irish country roads ("a process of prolonged carnal intercussion"). Along the way, Mick discovers that James Joyce is alive, well and bartending in the small coastal town of Skerries. Need I say more? "The Dalkey Archive" is a work of startling wit and originality, one of my comic favorites!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
I don't recall reading an odder book than "The Dalkey Archive", with the possible exception of Wilson and Shea's "Illuminatus! Trilogy". The plot revolves around an subdued madman who is attempting to destroy the Earth, and an even more subdued protagonist, who is attempting to thwart this plan. There are, of course, inconsequential, yet infinitely hilarious subplots, for example the police inspector who slits his deputy's bicycle's tires because he's convinced that, as people ride on bicycles down bumpy country lanes, molecules are exchanged between the vehicle and the rider, thereby bestowing a sort of fiendish intelligence and humanity to the instrument and a placid nonsentience to the user, with various side effects. Also, the book forces us to ask if James Joyce really died in exile, as well as if Christian saints can be resurrected through science. As I said, quite eclectic, quite odd. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "botatoe" on May 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
I first read "The Dalkey Archive" twenty years ago, while a graduate student at Trinity College in Dublin. It struck me then, as it strikes me now upon re-reading it, as one of the most peculiarly funny books I've ever read. It combines elements of original lunacy and weird science with the resonating touchstones of a uniquely Irish comic sensibility. The story is driven by the madcap schemes of a character named De Selby, who describes himself as "a theologist and a physicist, sciences which embrace many others such as eschatology and astrognosy." De Selby invents a substance which removes all oxygen from the atmosphere (a substance he calls "DMP", the acronym for the Dublin Metropolitan Police) and then discovers that a deoxygenated atmosphere cancels the serial nature of time. The plot moves on from there, with Mick Shaughnessy, a "lowly civil servant", engaging the local constable to help him save the world from De Selby's scheme to deoxygentate the world's atmosphere. In the course of things, "The Dalkey Archive" contains two of the funniest chapters ever written (Chapters 4 and 9): one in which De Selby, Mick Shaughnessy and a drinking companion named Hackett, clad in aqualungs, talk to Saint Augustine (his "Dublin accent was unmistakable") about arcane theological doctrines and the Church Fathers in an underwater cave; the other in which Sergeant Fottrell, the constable, explains to Mick his "Mollycule Theory", the theory that people's personalities become mixed up with those of bicycles through the pounding of man and machine while pedaling down bumpy Irish country roads ("a process of prolonged carnal intercussion"). Along the way, Mick discovers that James Joyce is alive, well and bartending in the small coastal town of Skerries. Need I say more? "The Dalkey Archive" is a work of startling wit and originality, one of my comic favorites!
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