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The Third Policeman Paperback – March 1, 2002
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
This book, along with Gravity's Rainbow, The Recognitions, Auto da Fe, The Burn, and a small handful of others, is a masterpiece of the 20th century - a book people will be reading while they pilot their spaceships toward a hard day's work on Venus or some such thing a kajillion years into the future. It is also one of the few satire's that doesn't succeed by denigrating us and one of the few post-modern works that does succeed by making us howl with laughter.
I dare anyone to read the first line and then put this book down. Undoubtedly the best first line in English literature (though Garcia Marquez's first line in 100 Years of Solitude is probably the best first line in all of literature).
I won't go on about plot twists - only urge fans of literature that expands understanding while entertaining to pick up this book by the greatest of Irish writers (you read right, THE greatest).
Now let me also say this is an interesting if unconventional story, a quick read but also lots to chew on.
Flann O'Brien is a flat-out genius of language and satire. You should really do yourself a favor and read his other books as well: "At Swim-Two-Birds," "The Hard Life," "The Poor Mouth," and "The Dalkey Archive." Say no more. A pint of plain is your only man.
The Third Policeman is quite funny, quite absurd, and, at bottom, very disturbing. The narrator is a very unpleasant man, who announces in the first sentence "Not everybody knows how I killed old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade;" not only is he a murderer, but a very lazy man who ruins his family farm, and spends his life researching the works of a madman named De Selby, who believes that, among other things, darkness is an hallucination, the result of accretions of black air. The narrator relates his early life briefly, leading up to his association with another unsavory character, John Divney, who parasitically moves in with the narrator and helps squander his inheritance. Divney and the narrator plot to kill their neighbor, Phillip Mathers, to steal his money. After the murder they decide to leave the money for a while until the coast clears: however they distrust each other so much that they never leave each others company. Finally they go to Mathers`s house to fetch the strongbox with his money: then Divney sends the narrator ahead to the house alone, while he stands lookout, and things get very strange!Read more ›
I must say that the book exceeded my expectations. I expected the normal genre western european comedy filled with stock characters and quirky pre-industrial social satirical situations, but "The Third Policeman(TTP)" was much more than that, I was amazed to find myself drenched in philosphies, physics (there is an entire part where the narrator whiles walking along his 19th century Irish countryside crosses into a one dimensional plane where the people are also one dimensional and he describes it in such detail and humor that it rivals, if not outshines, the historically famous "Flatland" book), other parts and characters (especially de Selby's theories) discuss love, psychology, houses, fashion, violence, environmentalism, roads&cities planning, bicycles...I can go on and on. Everything is written really clear, funny and the dialogues are so timeless and quick to relate to, yet you are in the middle of another place (Ireland) at another time (pre-1900).
I'm surprised that this book wasn't a requirement for High School or College reading materials since it is filled to the brim with great SAT & GRE words and consistent withj well written sentences, dialogues and synthesizes great plot formation.
I'm also surprised that this book has not yet been adapted into a screenplay of movie as yet.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I often recommend this to people. It is one of the weirdest books I've ever read, but not weird as in 'that's so weird I'm going... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Firecat Hat
A comic trip through hell, the reviewer says. That's partially right, but I wouldn't call it comic. The author is entitled to his own view of what hell is like. Read morePublished 4 months ago by George Berkheimer
Was not sure what to expect having picked this book blindly. Found it very tough going at times. Struggled to follow what was going on. It all became a bit clearest the end... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kenogee
I enjoyed this story but it was very different than anything else I have read. It really comes across as Gallow's Humor with many twists and turns. Read morePublished 9 months ago by s, richard