Skip to main content

REVIEW: The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien.

I've just finished reading Flann O'Brien's Third Policeman, and I've just realised I've never really read any Irish authors before. Now I'm wondering if I've been missing out because The Third Policeman is a wonder to read. It's silly, and there are plentiful amounts of wtf moments, but it's a good kind of silly.

The story is narrated by a student of the philosopher, de Selby, who remains nameless throughout the book. After committing a murder, he is thrown into a series of extremely absurd events that include meeting a one-legged man, policemen who are obsessed with bicycles, an explanation of the atomic theory, omnium (you can create anything with Omnium), and a left-turn to Eternity.

Strewn in between the narrative are footnotes quoting the ridiculous theories and experiments that de Selby comes up with; for example, the theory that night happens because of darkness particles polluting the air, or how if you reflect enough mirrors together, you can see yourself when you're younger, since light is slowed down. The footnotes add to the madness that is the main narrative, and even threaten to take over the book at one point, when de Selby's critics are discussed.

It's too bad I don't have the book with me right now, I'd love to give a sample of O'Brien's writing. It's so lovely and witty I kept rereading the page I was on, awed at his use of the language.

I now look forward to reading his first novel, At Swim-Two-Birds.

Comments

  1. Lovely book -- the inspiration to name my music label Omnium.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A lovely name to name a music label. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

HOWTO: Get Rid of Silverfish

The bane of every book collecting person: the Silverfish. DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!! How to get rid of them? If one book has been infected, place it inside an air-tight plastic bag along with some silica gel desiccant. The silica gel is important to get rid of moisture, because you will now place the sealed plastic bag with the book in it inside the freezer. Leave it in there for a couple of days so that those bugs catch their death of cold. If you're feeling particularly paranoid, (like I usually am) feel free to leave the plastic bag in there for a week. If they're not dead, then you might likely have an infestation of zombie silverfish , which is out of the scope of this blogpost. But what if a whole colony of silverfish decided to invade your whole bookcase? Then you have to make sure you're ready for war. Place a generous amount of silica gel (or if you can find it, diatomaceous earth) behind your books at the back of the shelves so that moisture levels remain low.

Lesson: Commemorative Covers are Lame.

Well, I got the first day cover that commemorates the 35th anniversary of the establishment diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia that I mentioned a couple of posts ago. Except that it's not a first day cover, it's a commemorative cover, which is a slightly different beast. I guess I should read the news article properly next time! The difference between the two is that first day covers are specially-designed envelopes stuck on with specially-designed stamps, and marked with a specially-designed postmark. A commemorative cover is a specially-designed envelope... and that's it. All in all, it's an unremarkable affair, especially if you're used to well-designed first day covers (not that Malaysian first day covers are well-designed... but I digress). Oh sure, a commemorative cover has a stamp printed right on to it but that's just like an overglorified aerogramme. Lame. On the whole, what a disappointment. I haven't been collecting first day

Send me to Clarion West! - My crowdfunding effort.

I just launched my crowdfunding page to help fund my Clarion West trip on GoGetFunding and I am nervous as heck. Anyway here's a link . Any help or support much appreciated even if it's just to share the link around. Thank you so much!