Edition cover

  • ISBN10: 0007115210
  • ISBN13: 9780007115211
  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • Flamingo

The Third Policeman (Complete Classics)
by Flann O'Brien

Reviewed by deargreenplace

Rating: 3 out of 5

  • Posted 11 years ago
  • Viewed 715 times, 0 comments
  • Average user rating: (3.5/5)

Leave your sanity at the hatch door

What an absurd, nonsensical absurdity this book is.

Yes, I read it because of the Lost references. It was written in 1940 and published in 1967. Had it been written in 1967 (as I first assumed), I would have attributed its wackiness to drugs

The unnamed narrator of The Third Policeman is an orphan, a waster and a murderer. He owns a pub, but would prefer to spend his days absorbed in the academic study of a theorist named De Selby. His friend John Divney runs the pub on his behalf but becomes greedy, and the pair plot to murder Old Mathers for the contents of his black box, thereby freeing them both financially to pursue the lives they desire.

The murder takes place, but soon after the narrator finds himself stumbling on a two-dimensional building that appears to be a police station. This is where the craziness starts.

We're in the Irish countryside of the 1940s - and bicycles are being stolen everywhere, which concerns the occupants of the police station a great deal. Not only that, but the bicycles are more than bicycles - they are connected to their owners in some very disturbing ways. The narrator becomes quite disconcerted at the world in which he finds himself, and starts plotting a way to get home.

I should maybe have given this book more attention as I felt much more satisfied with it after reading the end. I admit that I skipped most of the footnotes (De Selby's theories are just as nonsensical as the rest of the book), but if you're a fan of the TV series Lost, it should enlighten you greatly if you're at all puzzled about Desmond's tasks in the Hatch, and of course the series finale.

Buffy: (to Giles) See, this is a school, and we have students, and they check out books, and then they learn things. Giles: I was beginning to suspect that was a myth.

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