the third Policeman Unknown Binding – 1976
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
One of the finest long passages in the book, which had me drumming my heels in pure visceral pleasure, is when the policeman MacCruiskeen shows the narrator a little wooden chest he has made, "perfect in its proportions and without fault in its workmanship." It turns out that he has made thirty more, each smaller than the last and contained inside its predecessor, of which series even the thirteenth one was so small it "took me three years to make and it took me another year to believe that I had made it." What I particularly delighted in was the off-kilter and yet just-so dialogue between the policeman and our man:
"There now," said MacCruiskeen.
"It is nearly too nice," I said at last, "to talk about it.Read more ›
"Flann O'Brien is a twisted genius."
The language, the turn of phrase and the surreal aspects to the story (including the often hilarious footnotes) are unparalleled. This is a brilliant book and your life is much less complete without reading it.
Flann O'Brien (real name Brian O'Nolan, who also wrote under the pseudonym Myles na Gopaleen) is a genius. His imagination, his turn of phrase, his sense of humour, each of these would be the envy of many an acclaimed author. To have them all displayed so expertly in one novel... as you can tell I loved it. I have spent the past few days consistently hurting with laughter. Proper belly-laughter. After finishing the book I have gone back to re-read sections.
The story begins normally enough on an Irish farm. At the beginning the lyrical prose is entertaining enough, but following a rather dark crime by the narrator the book takes off, with the narrator trying to retain his sanity as event after surreal event unravels before him.
Anyone who can create the eminent philosopher De Selby, whose thoughts pepper the book deserves any praise that comes their way. De Selby's theories include, "A row of houses is a row of necessary evils" (houses have lead to the softening of the human race); "night is in fact accumulations of black air", a sort of volcanic dust which obscures day & consequently sleep is in fact a series of fits and heart attacks; "journeys are an hallucination"; and who, in my favourite moment, following up his theory that when you look at a reflection of yourself in the mirror you see a younger version of yourself, sets up two mirrors opposite each other, producing an infinite series of reflections. De Selby then looks through a telescope and claims to have seen himself as a young boy.
It begins with a murder by two desperate men somewhere in Ireland, but rapidly goes to all manner of strange places. The book is mainly a satire on the archetypal village police force taken to ludicrous extremes, and O' Brien uses his two monstrous policemen not only to great comic effect, but to expound all manner of strange theories. Some of the ideas are just plain barmy, yet all make an odd sort of sense within the book's own internal sense of logic. O' Brien also manages to shoot the book through with a creeping, brooding menace that you don't even realise is there until the nerve-biting climax begins, an impressive feat given the often outre subject matter.
And the bicycles. Was there ever a book or set of characters so obsessed with them? Bikes that are almost human, humans that are almost bike, and the main character's surprisingly touching and sweet love-affair with a female bicycle near the end was astonishingly well-written, considering the barmy subject. And what's weirdest is how it all makes so much sense. For instance - you know how you'll sometimes see a bike in a hallway or kitchen on a stormy, rainy evening? Person A will assume person B put it there, person B assumes person A put it there, and no-one thinks to comment.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written, but not my cup of tea.
Very whimsical, very poetic, very surreal. A true piece of Irish whimsy. Read more
Most of the time I take it before buying stuff,so most of the time it's OKPublished 4 months ago by MR JP BAUDELOT
Very funny, very scary, very literate and above all very Irish novel of murder, police-procedure, molecular theory, bicycle theft and the solidarity of one-legged men! Read morePublished 4 months ago by David Myers
Inimitably hilarious and bizzare. I first read this some 45 years ago and it is as brillant as everPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
"Too fantastic"(!) to be published in his own lifetime. Those editors should have been arrested. Call MacCruiskeen! On yer bike! Read morePublished 5 months ago by pgm3
For all it's literary qualities, this book is a perversely easy read - for which the writer deserves much admiration. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mr. Mw Arnold