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The Third Policeman
by Flann O'Brien

Published: 2002-03-01
Paperback : 200 pages
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The Third Policeman is Flann O'Brien's brilliantly dark 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 ...

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Introduction

The Third Policeman is Flann O'Brien's brilliantly dark 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.

The last of O’Brien’s novels to be published, The Third Policeman joins O’Brien’s other fiction (At Swim-Two-Birds, The Poor Mouth, The Hard Life, The Best of Myles, and The Dalkey Archive) to ensure his place, along with James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as one of Ireland’s great comic geniuses.

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Should John Divney linger eternally in this Hell twice as long as the narrator since he committed two murders?
What is your concept of Hell?
What item have you exchanged the most atoms with?
by [email protected] (see profile) 12/20/17

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  "The Logic of Implausibility"by [email protected] (see profile) 12/20/17

Flann O'Brien is a virtuoso with the English language. "The Third Policeman" is a surreal trip to an absurd place where everything is bizarrely logical. You get two pleasures for the price of one with... (read more)

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