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The Third Policeman Paperback – March 1, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 640 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"By no means recently published, Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman will, nevertheless, be perpetually new. The literary equivalent of a Tesla invention, The Third Policeman is an astonishingly great book that is so intricate, so improbably effective, that one cannot tell, merely by looking, what makes it tick. The story is a strange dream-journey that at times is so substantial that the reader will find himself double-checking the thickness of the book itself, amazed that the whole thing fits in so slim a volume.... [The Third Policeman] "must not be allowed to be forgotten. More images are painted in its 200 pages than in the massive Pulitzer contenders of today, more fantasy and dream than in a million pages of Tolkien or Rowling. Reading this book will actually improve your imagination, your speech, your intelligence..." ― Bookslut

“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, author of A Clockwork Orange

"I first discovered The Third Policeman when someone -- I don't remember who -- recommended it to me, claiming it was the funniest book ever written, bar none. I would agree, if to the adjective "funniest" was added the conjunction and adjective "and scariest." I had never read anything quite like it, and now, although I have read books like it, I have never read anything of its kind (which is what? a Menippean satire?) to surpass it." ― Charles Baxter, author of Saul and Patsy, on NPR

From the Back Cover

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.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Dalkey Archive Press; Later printing edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 200 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 156478214X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1564782144
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.51 x 0.61 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.9 out of 5 stars 640 ratings

About the author

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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

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5
640 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

r
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 28, 2017
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29 people found this helpful
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jas
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal yet a compelling read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 12, 2019
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James smethurst
5.0 out of 5 stars Fox is the third
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 19, 2018
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Scylla
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth sticking with
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2020
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Justin Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Flann O'Brien's second greatest work
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 15, 2018
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