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The Third Policeman

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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 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, The Dalkey Archive) to ensure his place, along with James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as one of Ireland's great comic geniuses.

200 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1967

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About the author

Flann O'Brien

46 books742 followers
Pseudonym of Brian Ó Nualláin , also known as Brian O'Nolan.

His English novels appeared under the name of Flann O’Brien, while his great Irish novel and his newspaper column (which appeared from 1940 to 1966) were signed Myles na gCopaleen or Myles na Gopaleen – the second being a phonetic rendering of the first. One of twelve brothers and sisters, he was born in 1911 in Strabane, County Tyrone, into an Irish-speaking family. His father had learned Irish while a young man during the Gaelic revival the son was later to mock. O’Brien’s childhood has been described as happy, though somewhat insular, as the language spoken at home was not that spoken by their neighbours. The Irish language had long been in decline, and Strabane was not in an Irish-speaking part of the country. The family moved frequently during O’Brien’s childhood, finally settling in Dublin in 1925. Four years later O’Brien took up study in University College Dublin.

Flann O'Brien is considered a major figure in twentieth century Irish literature. Flann O'Brien novels have attracted a wide following for their bizarre humour and Modernist metafiction.

The café and shop of Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich (www.culturlann.ie), at the heart of the Belfast Gaeltacht Quarter, is named An Ceathrú Póilí ("The Fourth Policeman"), as a play-on-words of the title of O'Brien's book The Third Policeman.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,216 reviews
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,217 reviews9,890 followers
August 18, 2010
If you ever want to find out what it's like being the only sober person in a room full of professors telling each other jokes in Latin and heffing and hawing and pulling each others' beards, here's a good place to start.

Otherwise not.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews26 followers
November 16, 2021
The Third Policeman, Flann O'Brien

The Third Policeman is a novel by Irish writer Brian O'Nolan, writing under the pseudonym Flann O'Brien.

It was written between 1939 and 1940, but after it initially failed to find a publisher, the author withdrew the manuscript from circulation and claimed he had lost it.

The book remained unpublished at the time of his death in 1966. It was published by MacGibbon & Kee in 1967.

The Third Policeman is set in rural Ireland and is narrated by a dedicated amateur scholar of de Selby, a scientist and philosopher.

The narrator, whose name we never learn, is orphaned at a young age. At boarding school, he discovers the work of de Selby and becomes a fanatically dedicated student of it.

One night he breaks his leg under mysterious circumstances – "If you like, it was broken for me" – and he is ultimately fitted with a wooden leg to replace the original one.

On returning to his family home, he meets and befriends John Divney who is in charge of the family farm and pub.

Over the next few years, the narrator devotes himself to the study of de Selby's work and leaves Divney to run the family business.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوم ماه نوامبر سال2012میلادی

عنوان: سومین پلیس؛ نوشته: فلن اوبراین؛ مترجم پیمان خاکسار؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، چشمه، سال1390، در256ص، شابک9786002290144؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 20م

پسری که نمی‌داند، چرا مادرش در کودکانگی‌ او، خانه و زندگی خویش را، ول کرد و رفت، و پس او هم پدرش، دنبال مادر رفت، و هیچگاه هم برنگشت، داستان زندگی‌ را، با ماجرای قتلی آغاز می‌کند، که به‌ تحریک کسی دیگر، انجام داده است؛ این پسر، که حالا�� برای خودش، مردی شده، در نوجوانی، اسیر اندیشه های مفسری، به‌ نام «دوسلبی» می‌شود، اندیشمندی که، برای هر رخداد طبیعی، نظراتی غیرطبیعی، ارائه می‌داده؛ او که برای چاپ کتابی که، درباره‌ ی «دوسلبی» نگاشته، نیازمند پول است، مرد ثروت‌مندی را، می‌کشد، اما وقتی، برای برداشتن پول‌ها، به‌ خانه‌ ی آن مرد می‌رود، با روح همان مرد، روبرو می‌شود، و یک‌باره، وارد دنیایی می‌گردد، که گویی با قوانین خود ساخته‌ ی «دوسلبی»، هدایت می‌شود؛ او که شوکه شده، دو چیز را، هم‌زمان درک می‌کند، نخست اینک،ه نامش را از دست داده، و دوم این‌که، شخصی با نام «جو»، در مغز او، به‌ وجود آمده، که افکار او را، هدایت می‌کند...؛

خیال می‌کنید، این همه ماجرا، که این فراموشکار، تازه چکیده‌ شان را نوشتم، در چند صفحه‌ ی کتاب، روی می‌دهند؟ باورش دشوار است، اما این‌ها تنها در سی صفحه‌ ی نخستین داستان، در کتابی دویست و پنجاه و شش صفحه‌ ای، جناب نویسنده «فلن اوبراین» هستند؛ مردی که پس از سال‌ها، به‌ ما خوانشگران مشتاق پارسایی، معرفی شده اند، و در کنار «جیمز جویس»، و «بکت»، سه غول ادبیات «ایرلند» در باورمان بنشسته اند؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 18/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 24/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for BlackOxford.
1,085 reviews68.4k followers
May 27, 2020
The Irish Existentialist

So, if Alice had fallen down the rabbit hole in Ireland rather than in England, the result could well be The Third Policemen. Or, more aptly, if Shem and Shaun had set out on the road West instead of East down the River Liffey, it could be the alternative Finnegans Wake. But on the third hand, it seems more likely that O’Brien is engaged in a massive send-up of Everything Irish, from its grammar to its destiny.

O’Brien’s protagonist, who has no name for most of the book, is on a quest, not a very honourable quest but one that serves to set up the story. Although he is the teller of the tale, it is really Ireland itself that is its subject, its peculiar history, its equally peculiar inhabitants, and especially the land itself which has its own peculiarities:
“The road was narrow, white, old, hard and scarred with shadow. It ran away westwards in the mist of the early morning, running cunningly through the little hills and going to some trouble to visit tiny towns which were not, strictly speaking, on its way. It was possibly one of the oldest roads in the world. I found it hard to think of a time when there was no road there because the trees and the tall hills and the fine views of bogland had been arranged by wise hands for the pleasing picture they made when looked at from the road. Without a road to have them looked at from they would have a somewhat aimless if not a futile aspect.”

The thoughts and actions of Mr. No Name are dominated by a crackpot philosopher, de Selby, who bears more than a passing resemblance to the 18th century 'immaterialist' Irish philosopher, Bishop Berkeley. At least both figures treat life as more or less hallucinatory. This is a judgment O’Brien adopts wholeheartedly throughout the story: Ireland as a collective delusion. Of course, as with his protagonist, this country may not exist at all: “If you have no name you possess nothing and you do not exist and even your trousers are not on you although they look as if they were from where I am sitting.”

Entering into this hallucinatory state, Protagonist has found his Soul, that ‘other self’ with whom he can speak and derive wise counsel. The Soul, called Joe, is generally more rational and coherent than the others Protagonist meets on his journey, or indeed than the rube Protagonist himself. Nevertheless their conversations do not inhibit the frequent emergence of Walter Mitty-like fantasies among the many other questionable experiences. This is a clear confirmation of his conceptual presumptions: “Of all the many striking statements made by de Selby, I do not think that any of them can rival his assertion that ‘a journey is an hallucination’.”

The policeman of the title is one of a team of country constables who have a peculiar talent. They are able to see the colour of the wind, an apparently important ability that has much to do with the fate of new born infants. Other than their chromatic duties two of the three are concerned mainly with the theft and proper lighting of bicycles. One points spears and carves Russian boxes as a hobby; the other slurps his porridge from the bowl. The third has more useful interests. All are expert on the Atomic Theory which explains the progressive transformation of human beings into bicycles, and vice versa.*

Remarkably, O’Brien anticipates (inspires?) Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi idea of 3D printing of everything from machines to food 60 years in the future - bicycles, of course being the prototype. As the police sergeant explains, the world and everything in it consists of Omnium, a substance without any definite substance, but with a force:
“Omnium is the essential inherent interior essence which is hidden inside the root of the kernel of everything and it is always the same... It never changes. But it shows itself in a million ways and it always comes in waves... Some people call it God and there are other names for something that is identically resembling it and that thing is omnium also into the same bargain.”
Omnium exists in its natural form “lacking an essential property of all known objects,” namely dimension. But it can be used to stimulate any of the human senses. In short, Omnium is the equivalent of Bishop Berkeley's immaterial Idea.

Smoke and mirrors are appropriately two of O’Brien’s favourite tropes. Both obscure; both distort. He also revels in the negative questioning of those, like the devil, who prefer to give negative answers to every question. So, “Would you object to giving me a straight answer?” elicits the response “No”, which is in fact an agreement to speak plainly. One must be prepared at all times to obfuscate and to de-rail obfuscation. This is the Irish way.

There is no doubt that, as with Finnegans Wake and Alice in Wonderland, it would be possible to make a career of The Third Policeman by tracking down allusions to people, places, myths, and events in Irish history (as well as in modern nuclear physics).** The book, in a way, provokes such a study of the national character. Whether this would be a productive use of one’s time or not is another question. I’d have to say with definite ambiguity: ‘No.’

*One is tempted to think of the modern discussion of the AI/Human interface. O'Brien certainly must have been one of the first to consider living machines.
** I suspect, for example, that his pal, Divney, with whom he commits a rather horrific crime, is England (or perhaps merely the Northern Irish counties). The two live together for some time, more or less accidentally, but end up not trusting each other, although they sleep in the same bed.
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,193 reviews1,815 followers
June 24, 2022


Ci sono scrittori irlandesi che hanno un buon seguito nel nostro paese. Penso a Catherine Dunne, Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor, John Banville, William Trevor, Colm Tóibín, eccetera. Ho provato a leggerli più o meno tutti, ma nessuno mi ha catturato.
Forse dipende dal fatto che ho poco da spartire con la religione cattolica, in Irlanda invadente e dispotica forse perfino più che qui - l’ho subita come la maggior parte dei miei connazionali, ma l’ho sempre detestata e me ne sono allontanato appena possibile (a dodici anni), e per quanto possibile.
Ho amato Edna O’Brien pubblicata da e/o.
Ma questo suo omonimo, che ha generato un piccolo culto qui da noi (il libro è sempre ristampato, prima da Einaudi, poi da Adelphi), quasi da iniziati, non è riuscito a convincermi.
Ho fatto due tentativi con questo “Terzo poliziotto”, ma non sono riuscito a innamorarmi.


Non credo rientri nella pattuglia di quelli menzionati sopra, non fosse altro perché è morto ormai da più di cinquanta anni (e a soli cinquantacinque anni).
Alcolizzato, e pessimista cronico, è stato citato da J.J. Abrahams come principale fonte di ispirazione per la sua serie “Lost” – questo romanzo in particolare: il fatto che io mi sia ‘perso’, cioè proprio smarrito, alla terza stagione della serie, e sia arrivato in fondo alla quinta più per la bellezza dei posti e della luce che per il resto, credo dica qualcosa sul fatto che nonostante i due tentativi, “Il terzo poliziotto” mi sia rimasto ostico. Incompreso.

Un ritratto di Flann O’Brien, pseudonimo di Brian O’Nolan, fatto da un fratello (per un francobollo commemorativo).

Qualcuno più bravo di me, e più appassionato di me a questo romanzo, riassume così la trama:
C'è un ragazzo che rimane orfano e in collegio diventa uno dei massimi esperti dell'opera del filosofo e scienziato de Selby, considerato un genio benché nessuna delle sue teorie sia accettabile (per esempio sostiene che la notte è un'illusione ottica derivante da emissioni di fumo). Il protagonista, che non ha un nome perché non ricorda quale sia, è coinvolto in una serie di disavventure insieme a due poliziotti, che controllano l'eternità tramite macchinari e sono convinti che tra uomini e biciclette ci sia uno scambio di atomi e quindi di personalità.
Un altro, ancora più brava, sintetizza il plot come segue:
Il racconto in prima persona di un assassino che non si è accorto di morire e scambia l’inferno per il suo mondo abituale.
Difficile metterli d’accordo.


Ora, considerato che a soli 24 anni, alla morte del padre, si ritrovò a dover mantenere madre e undici fratelli con uno stipendio annuo che era dignitoso giusto per un single, si può spiegare il suo pessimismo, ben venato di nera ironia, come spesso corrisponde alla terra d’Irlanda, e può spiegare anche il suo generoso ricorso alla bottiglia.

Graham Greene volle a tutti costi far pubblicare il suo primo romanzo.
Molti lo paragonano alla follia letteraria di Joyce.
Purtroppo, non sono riuscito a risolvere il quiz Flan O’Brien.
Io, però, torno a rileggere Ulisse.

O’Brien, alias O’Nolan, tenne a lungo una rivista quotidiana sull’Irish Times firmandola con l’altro pseudonimo in gaelico di Myles na Gopaleen.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
506 reviews90 followers
August 1, 2023
من ریویووم نمیاد فقط همینقدر بگم که این کتاب خیلی باحاله و باید بخونیدنش.
از پیشنهادات سوپر خفن آی غلامی💅
Profile Image for Ian "Marvin" Graye.
874 reviews2,264 followers
November 4, 2014
"It Might be the Supreme Pancake"

Flann O’Brien finished this novel in 1940, but it wasn’t published until 1967, the year after he died of cancer.

It must have broken his heart that it was initially rejected for publication. It’s arguable that it was finally released at a far more appreciative time. However, this is little comfort if you're dead, and what we readers have missed out on is the type of fiction he would have written had it been accepted.

Flann O’Brien ranks with great wordsmiths and humourists like James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Spike Milligan.

The novel loosely details a crime (murder) and a punishment (hanging) and the aftermath of both. What's uncertain is the timing of the events. As with so much in life, what appears at first to be linear could equally be circular or recurrent. To say any more or to be any less circumlocutious, would be to enter spoiler territory.

The novel is intelligent, challenging, playful and economical. It makes a powerful case for minimalism against maximalism.

You can enter and re-enter this compact, almost infinitesimal, world of infinite jest with infinite pleasure.

To paraphrase the first policeman, "It is nearly an insoluble pancake, a conundrum of inscrutable potentialities, a snorter."

For it to remain so when you read it, I’m not going to say much about it apart from outlining the metaphysical speculation that seems to drive it.

"Is It About a Bicycle?"

It most certainly is. But just as a bicycle has two wheels, the weight of the narrative is borne by two wheels that don’t always spin in the same direction. In fact, they might even counteract each other and defy progress.

I’ll try to describe their dialectical machinations below.

"What Fresh Hell is This?"

See if this makes sense.

Everything is made of omnium. Omnium is everywhere. You could think of it as particles. You could also think of it as waves. Omnium is energy. Omnium is also light. This is the basis of Atomic Theory. Obviously, in reality, particles are in contact with each other. Omnium rubs up against other omnium. Take me and my bicycle for example. If I sit on the seat of my bike for long enough, some of me will rub off on my bike, and some of my bike will rub off on me. Let’s call the bit of me that rubs off on my bike my "soul". My soul is transported through my ass via the seat to my bicycle. Eventually, it’s possible that I might lose all of my soul to my bike. What I get in exchange is timber. Without my bicycle, I am only wood. I am lifeless without my bike. As if it’s not bad enough that some among us are half-man, half-bike, the police are finding that more and more people are losing their bikes. Without our bikes, we can’t make any progress on our journey. If our goal is heaven, we can’t get to heaven without our bike, i.e., without our soul. The handle bars on our bicycles are our consciences. The lamps illuminate our path. If we’re parted from our bicycles, we might lose our direction in life. We might fall into a life of crime. We might be destined for hell. Indeed, life without a soul might define hell. We don’t even have to die to get to hell. When we get to hell, it might even look very much like life before we died. When we get to hell, we might find that the punishment for our crime is to relive our lives. Hell might be an eternal repetition of our lives of crime. Hell might not be other people. It might be us. Hell might be an eternal recurrence of ourselves and our past lives.

"A Journey is An Hallucination"

A different approach to life and death comes from the narrator’s favourite philosopher, de Selby (1).

He argues that "a journey is an hallucination." For him, human existence is "a succession of static experiences each infinitely brief."

Each experience is a static occurrence. No experience is a point on the axis on which you go from A to B. It is simply a rest or a pause. At no point is the traveller moving. They are never actually going anywhere. They are never progressing from A to B.

The human mind groups together millions of these rests, and mistakenly calls the aggregate "motion".

However, de Selby believes that motion is an illusion. He argues that there is no progression or serialism in life. Time does not pass. Time as we know it does not exist. Life is a photograph, not a cinematographic film.

If we are not moving anywhere, we are not moving or progressing towards death. If death is the supreme hallucination, then our belief that we are approaching death must be illusory.

The Triangulation of the Bicycular Dialectic

These are two very different perspectives on life and death, morality and mortality. But I won't say any more. It's important that you negotiate the novel's journey guided primarily by Flann O'Brien and influenced by as few external preconceptions as possible. You have to think it through for yourself when you read it. That's the challenge and the fun part and the ultimate reward, the supreme pancake.

However, I'll disclose some questions I asked while reading the novel:

If God is a Trinity, is the House of God triangular?

If God’s Police enforce God’s Law, who is the third policeman?

I won't answer them either, because Flann O’Brien counsels, "Always ask any questions that are to be asked and never answer any."

I hope you get to read and enjoy the novel!


(1) Reprised in "The Dalkey Archive":

The Dalkey Archive by Flann O'Brien


Miles Davis - ''Ascenseur pour l'Echafaud''



Jeanne Moreau:


Laughing Clowns - "Collapse Board"


"You shake your head you can't believe
The sickening stability of my life
You've got about an hour left
And then you're standing
On the collapse board again
And feel the rope around your neck again."

Profile Image for Guille.
784 reviews1,748 followers
October 22, 2020
Tenía grandes expectativas puestas en esta novela y no la he disfrutado apenas nada. No he visto más allá de de alguna situación graciosa y algún comentario ingenioso. No he encontrado por ninguna parte la puerta a ese territorio de las grandes preguntas que se menciona en la sinopsis. Y, fundamentalmente, no me ha encandilado su estilo, circunstancia que podría haber compensado todo lo demás.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,599 reviews8,729 followers
December 17, 2015
"Joe had been explaining things in the meantime. He said it was again the beginning of the unfinished, the re-discovery of the familiar, the re-experience of the already suffered, the fresh-forgetting of the unremembered. Hell goes round and round. In shape it is circular and by nature it is interminable, repetitive and very nearly unbearable." - O'Brien (omitted from the published novel)


Hell is other people's bicycles.

After finishing Flann O'Brien's dark masterpiece of absurdity, I wanted to jam a well-chewed copy of Joyce in one pocket, a copy of Sterne in the other, push a DFW in my back left pocket, put some dark strawberry jam in my back right pocket, turn left twice, exit into my tight little garage and immediately make sweet sweet love to the nearest bicycle available. No. Not yet. She's not ready, nor is my review. I'll pick up this peach seat tomorrow.

So, it isn't tomorrow, but time and peaches are relative in purgatory. This is one of those books that is nearly impossible to review, but there is a space beyond impossible where letting go of this book exists. So, let's press forward shall we? The prose is amazing, funky; it floats and bursts from the page. Like Joyce and other Irish writers, O'Brien OWNS the English language (it is merely mortgaged to us mortals). Reading O'Brien is like watching one of those strange kids who can keep a soccer ball from ever hitting the ground. Gravity just doesn't matter. But let's bounce back to bikes and literature >

So, Flann O'Brien's novel seems to exist in a strange purgatory between Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and DFW's The Broom of the System. It is full of digressions, wooden legs, bicycles, murder, policemen (obviously), footnotes*, and much much more. This is one of those novels where rules are murdered and post-modernism is both born and twisted. There are books that are written to be sold and novels written to be worshiped. Get on your knees fellow travelers and start praying.

*O'Brien was out DFWing DFW before DFW was born.
Profile Image for Geoff.
444 reviews1,232 followers
December 18, 2012
The Third Policeman is a fantastic work of imaginative fictional wonder that by the end somehow manages to become a bit exasperating in all its fantastic imaginative wonderfulness. Each chapter by itself is a kind of magical and mind-bending set piece illustrating baffling physical and metaphysical conundrums, paradoxes, absurdities, and improbabilities, but this is perhaps a situation where the pieces are greater than the whole (a standout example is MacCruiskeen’s ever-diminutive reproductions of boxes falling away into the invisibly miniscule, a wonderful metaphor for the metafictive act). Though I was growing a bit impatient with its fireworks and blazing word-thought-comets toward the end, I believe this book still points the way toward Flann O’Brien being some kind of mad genius of wordsmithery, and it inhabits a similar kind of position as At Swim-Two-Birds, being a book both hilarious and deeply unsettling. Where it succeeds is in creating a universe parallel to our own where the imagination is unbounded, where physical laws are at the mercy of the whims of the mind, where possibility is not limited by the inconveniently impossible. Did someone say the world of fiction itself? Well if so, writing is hell. Highly recommended, highly enjoyed, but just did not give me the full-body readgasm I got from O’Brien’s first novel. Let me reiterate- this Irishman is a magician of the highest order and is not to be ignored.
Profile Image for Jim Elkins.
334 reviews355 followers
April 2, 2020
What Does A Genuinely Avant-Garde Novel Look Like?

Everyone has a theory about this novel. There are at least five commonly cited explanations:

1. Flann O'Brien is the forgotten postmodernist, the one who didn't leave Ireland. The "Third Policeman" is one of the last books Joyce read, and by implication it's is a kind of Doppelgaenger to "Finnegans Wake." The book's play with language and its reflexivity about the novel form is somehow parallel to Joyce's.

2. The book is an indirect but eloquent record of that generation in Ireland, when the humor could be desperate, when the church was all-powerful, when what's now called "homosocial" life in crowded dingy pubs had to stand in for the wider society that Joyce chose. In later life O'Brien was also an alcoholic, even though it's always hard to know what exactly that diagnosis explains (maybe the exaggerrated lucidity of Myles na gCopaleen). (Thanks to Don's comment, below.)

3. O'Brien is a member of what Hugh Kenner called "Irish nihilism." In this view there is no moral sense in the book, which after all begins with someone's head being crushed by a garden spade. This also supposedly explains the absence of contrition or religious feeling. Denis Donoghue almost assents to this in his strange and covertly Republican Afterword to the Dalkey Archive edition.

4. O'Brien is a minimalist, and his deepest ties are to Beckett. This is one of the lines in Fintan O'Toole's 2009 review in the "New York Review of Books."

5. O'Brien's own explanation is that the book is about a dead man, and that the last page shows how the damned suffer their punishments eternally. But that's only an explanation if your idea of hell already includes knives so thin they can't be seen, microscopic carved wooden boxes, and sexually mutable bicycles. Otherwise it doesn't explain anything.

The fact that these are forced or otherwise unhelpful may indicate that the book is stranger than its commentators think. The fact that people keep coming up with these one-line explanations shows how the novel keeps prodding its readers: it is just too odd to be accepted as a mid-century modernist novel or even an anachronistic postmodern one; for many readers a theory, no matter how restrictive, helps soothe the discomfort. But what is the avant-garde, if it isn't a thing that is not anticipated? That cannot be accommodated? That wasn't asked for, that solves no problem we ever thought we had? The "Third Policeman" is one of the best examples of a genuinely avant-garde modernist work, because it just won't fit into categories, even so many years on.

By way of postscript: one thing I especially love about the book is the Irish landscape that it conjures, between its many fantasies and concoctions. If you take away the hallucinated afterlife that occupies most of the narrative, what remains? A poor, simple countryside, with farms and a few police stations and pubs, and miles of bumpy roads, sodden fields, muck, brambles, dripping copses, and gorse. There is almost nothing else: people ride bicycles everywhere. When they think they might become rich, they dream of changes of clothes. There is almost no mention of what they eat or drink. It is an impoverished landscape implying an impoverished society -- and when I think of those things, O'Brien's perverse and perfervid inventions look even more necessary than his humor, and more desperate and painful.
Profile Image for Oscar.
1,973 reviews489 followers
April 24, 2019
Después de acabar de leer ‘El Tercer Policía’, sólo puedo decir que se trata de una absoluta obra maestra. El viaje al que te arrastra Flann O’Brien es de los más imaginativos, alucinantes e irreales que he leído jamás. ¡Hilarante, delirante, sorprendente! Aún no entiendo cómo no había leído nada de este escritor irlandés. Estas mismas sensaciones de estar leyendo una historia que te sorprende en cada página, es comparable a la que tuve hace años con la lectura de otra magnífica fábula metafísica, ‘El poema de los lunáticos’ de Ermanno Cavazzoni, novela en la que el inspector Savini investiga secretos mensajes aparecidos en los pozos, trasladándose para ello a extrañas tierras donde descubre a pueblos que habitan en tuberías y que espían nuestro mundo a través de los grifos. Absurdo, sí, pero vaya imaginación y menudas historias. Pues así es ‘El Tercer Policía’. Sin duda, todo un hallazgo.

La primera vez que escuché hablar de Flann O’Brien fue en 2006, cuando Nórdica Libros publicó el presente libro precisamente. Tras leer la sinopsis, sólo pude adquirirlo, porque ya se sabe que después no hay manera de encontrar los libros de estas pequeñas e imprescindibles editoriales.

Desmond y su 'The Third Policeman'

Posteriormente también me enteré que ‘El Tercer Policía’ era uno de los libros que leía Desmond en la genial serie ‘Lost’ (‘Perdidos’) y que se veía encima de su escritorio en uno de los episodios. Según uno de los guionistas, en la serie se hacen bastantes alusiones a la trama del libro. En la novela aparece un subterráneo en el que los números juegan un papel muy importante, así como una especie de caja que produce cualquier cosa que se desee, y también se sugiere un posible derrumbe de la estructura como no se mantenga todo perfectamente controlado. Esto no va más allá de una mera anécdota, y si hay que creer a los creadores y guionistas de la serie, los libros que van apareciendo en algunos capítulos tienen su importancia para una mayor comprensión de lo que está sucediendo.

Pero no hay que confundirse, porque lo que ‘El Tercer Policía’ tiene en común con ‘Lost’ es mínimo, aunque muy importante. Es difícil poder hablar del argumento de este libro sin desvelar parte de sus sorpresas. El protagonista y narrador, una especie de estudiante y filósofo autodidacta obsesionado con la obra del científico de Selby, vive con John Divney, un tipo ruin junto al que comete un asesinato y un robo, como se menciona en el primer párrafo. Lo que roban es una caja negra, que se convertirá sólo en el principio de una pesadilla fantástica que va más allá de la imaginación, un viaje afín al de la Alicia de Lewis Carroll, o al del Mundo de Oz, y no exento de humor absurdo al estilo ‘El hombre que fue jueves’ de Chesterton. Un mundo con una comisaría bidimensional donde conocerá a dos tipos asombrosos, el Sargento Pluck y el policía MacCruinkeen, totalmente obsesionados con las bicicletas, sus perjuicios y placeres.

Mención aparte para de Selby y su colección de disparatadas teorías, a cuál más peculiar y sublime, como por ejemplo, que la noche no existe como tal, sino que se trata de aire negro producto de la acumulación de gases volcánicos. Teorías que se irán volviendo cada vez más extrañas y complicadas. La novela contiene varias notas a pie de página que rompen con la trama convirtiéndose por momentos en una novela aparte, en una especie de metaficción; notas donde tanto críticos como seguidores de de Selby dan rienda suelta a sus filias y fobias por el controvertido sabio.

En cuanto al tercer policía del título, es todo un misterio del que no se puede mencionar nada, pero cuya importancia es crucial, aunque esté ausente.

Insisto de nuevo, cuanto menos se sepa del argumento de este libro, mucho mejor, para poder disfrutar plenamente con su lectura.

Flann O’Brien fue un exquisito narrador para el que las reglas a la hora de escribir no existían. ‘El Tercer Policía’ se puede leer como una novela de humor, de misterio, de suspense, de literatura fantástica, e incluso de terror, sobre todo al final, porque es todo esto y mucho más.
Profile Image for Mohammed.
446 reviews581 followers
May 13, 2020
الشرطي الثالث
فلان أوبراين

إذا لم تكن من هواة السيريالية فهذه الرواية ليست لك. لحظة لا تذهب بهذه السرعة! هل تعرف ماهي السيريالية أصلًا. انتظر قليلًا فقد تجد في المراجعة ما يروق لك. بالنسبة للسيريالية هي...لا أعرف ما هي حقًا فهي من الأنواع الأدبية صعبة التعريف. دعني أحاول ولن أطيل عليك.

السيريالية –أو السوريالية حسب بعض المتحذلقين- هي كلمة تعني حرفياً فوق الواقعية –أو (فواقعية) حسب بعض المتفلسفين- هي حركة فنية وأدبية ظهرت في عشرينيات القرن المنصرم ورائدها أندريه بريتون، وأبرز أقطابها المجنون سيلفادور دالي. تهدف هذه المدرسة إلى تعبير عن العقل الباطن بصورة متجردة عن المنطق والنظام. تعريف غير واضح؟ سأحاول مرة أخرى. البعض يوضح السيريالية بأنها شبيهة بالأحلام والهلوسات من حيث لا منطقية المشهد وعبثية الهدف. تعرف ذلك الشعور عندما تحلم بأنك في مكان تراه لأول مرة وفي الوقت نفسه تحس بأنك معتاد عليه، ترى لاعب كرة شهير على أنه صديقك الحميم وتجتمعان مع مدير الشركة في بيت جدك لمناقشة ماستتناولونه على الغداء اليوم... بالنسبة لي السيريالية في الأدب هي خليط غير متجانس من الفانتازيا، العبثية والرمزية. الخيال فيها (شاطح) كالفانتازيا، الرسالة غير مفهومة أو غير موجودة كالعبثية كما أن هناك إشارات تتجاوز النص الظاهري ويمكن التقاطها مثل الحال في الرمزية. خذ هذه اللوحات كمثال:




أما في الأفلام فهذه بعض ماشاهدت من الأفلام السيريالية:
1- Being John Malkovich
2- Lost Highway
3- Oldboy
4- Enter the Void

أما في الأدب فنجد كتابات أندريه بريتون وكافكا وأيضًا حبيب الشعب موراكامي. نكتفي بهذا القدر عن السيريالية ولنتحدث عن الشرطي الثالث. تبدأ الرواية كقصة عادية وإن كانت ساخرة نوعًا ما، عن الشاب الذي يصادق العامل الوصي على مزرعة أبيه. تتسم صداقتهم بالحميمية الشديدة وأيضًا بالتنافس وشيء من النفور، خلطة غريبة عندما تشرحها ولكنها طبيعية عندما تقرأها أو تعيشها. لا سيريالية حتى الآن. يقرر الأثنان القيام بجريمة ما للخروج من مأزق ماليّ ويشرعان بتنفيذ الخطة. تتم الجريمة ثم يختلف الإثنان ويتسلل الشك إلى قلب الشاب الحائر. لا سيريالية حتى الآن. ما إن يقرر الشاب أن يواجه العامل ويأخذ حصته من الكنز حتى تبدأ مسرحية السيريالية ويدخل القارئ في دوامة سحرية مليئة بالأشخاص الغريبين، الأحداث العجيبة والحوارات الشاذة.

هناك الشرطي الذي يهوى صناعة صناديق دقيقة التصميم، وعندما فرغ من صناعة أجمل صندوق لم يجد شيئًا يلائم روعته ليضعه بداخله، فقرر أن يصنع صندوقًا أصغر ليضعه فيه. وهكذا استمر في صناعة صناديق أصغر فأصغر حتى صنع واحدًا لا يمكن رؤيته بالعين المجردة. في أحد المشاهد يُفقد الصندوق وينهمك الجميع في البحث عنه. هناك الدراجات التي توشك على التحول إلى بشر والبشر الذين ينقلبون إلى دراجات. هناك مكان يسمى الأبدية يعج بكل ما يتمناه المرء ويتوقف فيه الزمن....والعديد من الأعاجيب الأخرى. لا أنسى أيضًا الحوارات العبثية الساخرة:

الشرطي: هل تقول بأنك سوف ترفض حكم الإعدام؟
الشاب: نعم حتى لو تسبب ذلك في موتي.

الرواية لطيفة ومسلية بشكل عام. ما ضايقني هو حديث الراوي المستمر عن كاتب اسمه دو سلبي له من النظريات العجيبة والغريبة ما الله به عليم. هناك شروحات كثيرة في الحواشي عن أفكار هذا الدوسلبي إلى درجة أنني تجاوزت العديد منها. عندما قررت البحث عن هذا الكاتب وجدت أنه من خيال المؤلف وأن كل مؤلفاته التي أوردها في النص وكل الشروحات ما هي إلا دعابة ثقيلة. أن تلوم نصًا سيرياليًا يعني أن تلطم مجنونًا شتمك. سيتحول اللوم من المجنون إليك، لذا مهما كانت الشتيمة مؤلمة عليك ابتلاعها والتظاهر بأنك لم تسمعها. وكذلك أن استهجنت شطحة في نص سيريالي فالجميع سيخبرك بأن هذا ما يتوقع من النص السيريالي يا (جاهل).
يبدو أن المراجعة قد طالت، وهذا ما يحدث عندما يكتب المراجعة انعكاسي في المرآة، في كل مرة أقنعه بأن المراجعات الأقصر هي الأفضل فيخرج دماغه ويضعه على الطاولة ، ثم يشير إليه قائلًا: "دماغي كده". فألوذ بالصمت وأتابع قراءة ما يكتبه.
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
5,103 reviews724 followers
March 16, 2022
One of the strangest books I have ever read...a kind of 'satori hell' where you find yourself only after everything is lost. Very unusual - but there are passages that are beautiful. If you like The Twilight Zone and the works of Samuel Beckett you will probably like this book: once disbelief is suspended it becomes a tale that transcends classification that will have a profound impact on you.
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,359 reviews792 followers
September 17, 2014


Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.
-Rita Mae Brown
The phrase practically screams common sense, does it not? And yet endurance, perseverance, and stubborn tenacity are all valued qualities in the face of a seemingly unobtainable goal. Personally, what immediately comes to mind are the trials and tribulations of scientists in countless laboratories scattered across the globe. Proclaiming a hypothesis (ex: I hypothesize that chemical A will interact with chemical B like so), designing an experiment to match it, and then conducting it over and over and over again, enough to gain enough data points to exclude both systematic and random error, avoidable and unavoidable biasing of the results. Three is the magic number required to measure just how wrong the data could possibly be, but more is always encouraged, just in case a monstrous outlier rears its head due to some unforeseen amount of chaos.

And if that experiment proves faulty, scientific training demands a do-over. Correct the hypothesis a touch, adjust the variables a smidgen, re-calibrate the chemicals and fine-tune the machinery, then repeat the process countless times more. On and on and on, as one of the blessings of the scientific method is that conclusions can always be questioned, answers can always be tested ad infinitum, and theories that have lasted for millenia can have their sterling reputations cracked like an egg during the space of a single hour.

Now, what does this have to do with The Third Policeman? Well, the previous two paragraphs in essence described a major plot point, the "twist" if you will of the entire narrative, as well as an action that multiple characters take part in throughout the course of the story. More importantly, there are a surprising amount of passages that are grounded firmly in the 'insanity' that science is.

For those who are not inclined towards the hard sciences, feel free to skip this next part. For those who have some level of interest, continue on.

I could go on about the myriad reality-defying ways the book illustrates that in actuality are necessary for successful scientific reasoning. But I think that you have all had enough lessons in mathematics/physics/general engineering for one day. Rest assured, this is not all that the book has going for it. There are many passages of dry wit that had me flat out giggling, as well as wonderfully unconventional metaphors that raised the reality the words described to a unusual, yet beautiful art. You'll even find scathing critiques of society and profound existential meanderings within these pages.

However, what stuck with me the most were the uncanny similarities between the strange logic that the book operated on and the science of the real world. Not all of the book's weirdness is reflected in sound science, but science itself has its own cases of crackpot theories and misinformed conclusions. Ultimately, to discover the truth, scientists delve into these realms, these hells if you will, of supreme weirdness and nonsensical assumptions, bring back bits and pieces for the rest of humanity to benefit from, and then dive back for more. It's a wonder that more of them don't go mad from the effort.
Profile Image for Nickolas the Kid.
313 reviews70 followers
September 13, 2017
Ο Τρίτος Αστυφύλακας είναι ένα πολύ ιδιόμορφο και περίεργο βιβλίο που όμως μετά tο τέλος του μου άφησε ένα χαμόγελο ικανοποίησης και ένα αίσθημα θαυμασμού για τον συγγραφέα.
Ο Ο’ Μπράιν παίρνει μια απλή ιστορία και φτιάχνει ένα καφκικό φανταστικό ταξίδι γεμάτο από εικόνες, τοπία και απίθανους χαρακτήρες. Θα ήταν μια πολύ καλή σκέψη αν κάποτε κάποιος έφτιαχνε ένα graphic novel εμπνευσμένο από αυτό το βιβλίο.

Η ιστορία λοιπόν του πρωταγωνιστή που δεν γνωρίζει το όνομα του αλλά συνομιλεί με την συνείδηση του (που έχει όνομα), διαβάζει ένα περίεργο επιστήμονα/φιλόσοφο και διαπράττει έναν φόνο, διαθέτει τα πάντα! Χιούμορ, μυστήριο, σάτιρα, κοινωνικό σχόλιο και ίσως και λίγο τρόμο.
Και όλα αυτά δοσμένα με ένα μεταμοντέρνο τρόπο αφήγησης που προσωπικά δεν με κούρασε καθόλου, αντιθέτως με έκανε να αδημονώ συνεχώς για την επόμενη σελίδα και την τροπή αυτής της απίθανης ιστορίας.

Εξαιρετική η μετάφραση του Άρη Μπερλή και το εισαγωγικό του σημείωμα.

Οι τελευταίες σελίδες είναι ουσιαστικά η λύση αυτού του γριφώδους βιβλίου.

Ένα αστεράκι θα κόψω επειδή είμαι σίγουρος πως η πλήρης κατανόηση αυτού του βιβλίου προϋποθέτει από την πλευρά του αναγνώστη. κάποιο υπόβαθρο στην ιρλανδική κουλτούρα. Ακόμα και τα ονόματα των βασικών χαρακτήρων πιστεύω πως δεν είναι τυχαία, πόσο μάλλον κάποια λογοπαίγνια και κάποιες καταστάσεις.
Οπότε 4/5 για ένα πολύ πολύ καλό και ιδιαίτερο βιβλίο...

ΥΓ: Μαριλένα ευχαριστώ για την βιβλιοπρόταση!
Profile Image for Tony.
919 reviews1,555 followers
August 11, 2016
Did you ever mount a bicycle from the right?

. . . is a question posed in this novel. And I have to confess, thinking about that, that I never have. But I am a small sample size and, I must confess, not a rider of bicycles. Then again, I am a frequent user of an elliptical machine, and I have only mounted that from the left. I have fallen off it both left and right but that is a different matter.

I tried this book a long time ago and I didn't make it to the question of bicycle-mounting. But that was before Goodreads. You remember Goodreads, don't you? That was that wonderful site for book lovers before Amazon bought it and now filled the homepage up with so much advertising and recommendations (they clearly don't know me, by the way) that it looks like the jumpsuit of a Nascar driver.

I also pitched this book, previously, before I got to the explanation of 'atomic theory'. 'Atomic theory' is like DNA explained by a writer who knows what time the bars open but not when they close. He got the little pieces in every big piece part right, but then it morphs into a DNA exchange. Like, if a hammer hits a nail, the atoms of the hammer move into the nail and the atoms of the nail move into the hammer. Little bit by little bit. This works with humans (more or less) and bicycles. Sit on a bicycle seat and start pedaling and you slowly become a bicycle, just as the bicycle slowly becomes you.

As I mentioned above, however, since I do not ride a bicycle anymore, it is more likely that I am becoming an elliptical machine (and he, me), although it is far more likely that I will become a golf cart, which I can mount from either right or left, though I prefer to drive.

You can see that you would be wise to regulate your irregularity instantaneously.

This was my second try at The Third Policeman, and I was successful in completing the reading. I did this thanks to the vagaries of air travel which has you board in Seattle but then fly straight south to Los Angeles and then north by northeast to Pittsburgh, with a layover, giving me a full day to read this without any serious distraction except for the Russian accent in the seat behind me on the second leg, which may or may not have been a wooden leg, I don't know, but he couldn't shut up.*

The book was a fascinating pancake and a conundrum of great incontinence, a phenomenon of the first rarity. **

You want to know what it was about? It was Hell, I tell ya.

*I boarded the plane from the left. This is universal, I think, even if bicycle-boarding is not.

**The first-person protagonist of this novel, in addition to being a first-chapter murderer, has written an analysis of the works of the de Selby, of whom it was said, "the beauty of reading a page of de Selby is that it leads one inescapably to the happy conviction that one is not, of all nincompoops, the greatest." I liked this book best for its wry, self-deprecating humor.
Profile Image for Christopher.
659 reviews212 followers
February 16, 2013
It was as if the daylight had changed with unnatural suddenness, as if the temperature of the evening had altered greatly in an instant or as if the air had become twice as rare or twice as dense as it had been in the winking of an eye; perhaps all of these and other things happened together for all my senses were bewildered all at once and could give me no explanation.

Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman continuously defied my expectations. Before reading, I had no preconceived notions about it, other than that it was an influence on the TV show LOST, but from its beginning pages, I hypothesized it to be a short, clever novel about murder. That's the only thing I got right about this book. When I thought it was a tale of an obsessive friendship, it became a philosophical examination of death. Then it became a trip down Alice's rabbit hole. Then it became a farcical look at science. Then it made several left turns and U-turns and roundabouts that I'll let the reader discover for herself.

This book feels vastly important, mostly because it's really old. It was written in 1940. That's a long time before David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, which has a similar hysterical-realistic aesthetic. It's a long time before Paul Auster infused his The New York Trilogy with a healthy dose of O'Brien's metafiction. That's even before Borges' Ficciones or Beckett's Waiting for Godot made their marks on postmodernism. And being so old, The Third Policeman feels remarkably modern in every sense other than its usage of old Britishisms like using "stone" as a unit of measure.

I know this is a short review, but I don't know what else to say. It's hard to talk about this book without giving anything away and I think it should come as a complete surprise to the reader. It's an important book which I don't think has received its just deserts. Read it.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,492 reviews55.8k followers
May 21, 2008
Before I begin, let me warn you.
***DO NOT READ THE INTRODUCTION UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE READ THE NOVEL** I made the mistake of reading the intro first, and that intro contains a spoiler. It gave away the entire premise of the novel. So I feel like I was gyped a bit here.

That being said, even tho I read the novel knowing the outcome, it didnt ruin the story for me at all.

TTP is hung up on de Selby (who is this dude?) some of his theories. Here are a few that really interested me: He felt that roads have a distinct direction they travel in. And you can feel if you are traveling them in the correct direction. Also, he believes that when you look in a mirror, you see a younger version of yourself. and if you take two mirrors and face them into themselves, where they reflect endless reflections, you will be able to see youself grow younger and younger thru each reflection. These are not touched very much in the novel, but were unique enough in and of themselves that I felt I would mention them.

And then there is the whole sharing atoms thing.This is a point of focus throughout the novel: If you ride a bicycle too often, pcs of the bike get passed into you, and you into it. Thus making a bike act humanish and a human act bikeish, until there is no way to tell the difference between the two. Same goes for the road. If you walk too much, you loose pcs of yourself to the road, and the road comes into you..... Still with me?

Overall, the book grips the reader and refuses to let go. It is creepy, confusing, and a touch haunting. I may have to pick up more from this author if they are written anything like this one!
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,465 reviews3,620 followers
October 10, 2014
“Strange enlightenments are vouchsafed to those who seek the higher places.”
Same comes to those who read books like The Third Policeman
I guess there is something in common between this novel and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – to say least they both boast the same high degree of art paranoia. And both disconnect time and space from the quotidian reality.
Wheels within wheels and hallucinations within hallucinations – such is the way of existence.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
920 reviews978 followers
December 12, 2022
Second time through this did not knock me sideways as much as it did when I first read it aged 17/18 - but then so many more strange ducks have swum through me noggin since then. Still wonderfully its own ouroborosian oddity.
Profile Image for Steve.
251 reviews899 followers
June 23, 2011
‘Tis an odd little book, this one, with elements of the supernatural mixed with wry observations and assorted bits of absurdity. It was written by Irishman Brian O’Nolan under the pen name Flann O’Brien back in 1940, but wasn’t published until after his death in 1967. Since I’ve never read anything like it, I don’t quite know how to compare it. If pressed, though, I’d say it’s like James Joyce for the lilt, Camus for the angst, and Lewis Carroll for the false logic. The most enjoyable parts for me were from the realm of pseudo-science. The principal character and narrator, who never gave his name, met a group of policemen down in what amounted to Alice’s rabbit hole. One of the officers was a master craftsman of infinitesimals. For instance, he had a lance with such a sharp point that you could feel it stick you before you could see it touch your skin. In another fun distortion of science, the policeman gets us all to agree that the image you see in the mirror is an ever-so-slightly younger version of yourself given travel times of light. Therefore, if you have a mirror reflecting an opposite mirror which itself has an image of the first mirror, and the mutual reflections continue on and on, you can see arbitrarily far back in time.

The temptation in reviewing this story is to give away the same spoiler that the egghead/bonehead who wrote the introduction did. I would urge you to either skip the intro to this edition, or read it afterwards. I’ll mention a somewhat smaller spoiler instead. Much of the story is set in a kind of wackadoo hell; one where just deserts are applied.

My new habit with stars is to round down. Maybe I’m reaching a stingier age. Or it could be that a recent spate of really good books has lifted my bar. This one gets 3.5 for its offbeat entertainment value, but falls short of full marks since any of the life themes that might have been given some heft instead floated off, into the fictive ether.
Profile Image for Lee.
352 reviews8 followers
November 6, 2019
Inspired, hilarious lunacy with a savage edge, and absolutely and unmistakably unique.

‘The first beginnings of wisdom,’ he said, ‘is to ask questions but never to answer any. You get wisdom from asking and I from not answering. Would you believe that there is a great increase in crime in this locality? Last year we had sixty-nine cases of no lights and four stolen. This year we have eighty-two cases of no lights, thirteen cases of riding on the footpath and four stolen. There was one case of wanton damage to a three-speed gear, there is sure to be a claim at the next Court and the area of charge will be the parish. Before the year is out there is certain to be a pump stolen, a very depraved and despicable manifestation of criminality and a blot on the county.’

‘Indeed,’ I said.
Profile Image for William2.
758 reviews3,078 followers
December 23, 2022
A humorous surrealism. A penchant for interiority that dazzles. I have no interest in fantasy unless it's employed, as it is here, to dystopic ends. I found the novel superb on the whole. I can't think of a single thing I might have changed.
Profile Image for Leila erfani.
19 reviews14 followers
May 4, 2019
چه كتاب عجيبي! تخيل توي اين كتاب هيچ حد و مرزي نداره!

Profile Image for Fuchsia  Groan.
162 reviews195 followers
December 5, 2020
Les confesaré que termino esta novela sin saber si todo consiste realmente en hacer pequeñas batas ni si es cierto que hay algo aún más peligroso que los pedales de ratonera. Lo dudo mucho. Me han contado que De Selby decía que «un viaje es una alucinación», también lo es a veces la lectura, pero es que la lectura puede ser cualquier cosa.

Alucinación y desconcierto es empezar un viaje pedaleando y riendo por un camino llano y soleado, absurdo y hasta genial, y sentir que conforme avanzas, en vez de ir adentrándote más y más en el terreno y las costumbres del lugar sucede justamente lo contrario. A la mitad del viaje se te borra la sonrisa y la senda se vuelve hostil y escarpada, a tus piernas les cuesta seguir avanzando, pinchas en un pedrusco, inflas la rueda con el bombín de asesinar, subes y sientes cómo tus átomos comienzan a intercambiarse con los de la bicicleta, bajas y empujas... sigues simplemente por ver si encuentras el ómnium, o a Fox, o al alma del narrador (el bueno de Joe), sigues y sigues en busca de disparates, y los encuentras, pero sin saber muy bien la razón ya no te hacen gracia y solo piensas en pedalear y pedalear, te planteas incluso lanzarte al prado contiguo y dejar que te devoren los mapaches, pero eres una mujer orgullosa y decides no darte por vencida. Justo al doblar la última curva y contemplar el destino, cuando ya estabas pensando que con toda seguridad las agujetas que tendrías mañana no serían precisamente de las que merecen la pena, escuchas una risita, giras la cabeza y te das cuenta de que el tal Flann O'Brien ha ido todo el viaje a tu lado con sonrisa burlona, que todo tenía un sentido, que se ríe de tu infortunio y no le falta razón. Despierta tu simpatía, sonríes mirando al frente, contemplando el final y recordando el recorrido con otros ojos.

—¿Es todo esto una broma con fines lúdicos?
—Si se lo toma usted así, le estaré indefinidamente agradecido y siempre le recordaré con verdadera emoción.
Profile Image for Sean.
325 reviews14 followers
January 7, 2012
I really wanted to like this book. I didn't like this book.

Things I did like:

* The writing. O'Brien was a wordsmith. In the abstract, all of his sentences please, and some astound.

* Bicycle sex. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that the narrator got it on with a bicycle. The bicycle was the aggressor.

* IEDs! This is before there were IEDs, mind you.

Things I didn't like:

* How horrible the book was.

* How long it took me to work my way through the book.

* The number of times I wished I was reading a different book.

In sum, save yourself the trouble and read Bicycle Sex: The Definitive Anthology instead. O'Brien was probably an amusing conversationalist after tweleve whiskeys, but this novel is about as amusing as the swine flu.
Profile Image for Cheeman Validi.
45 reviews35 followers
February 13, 2022
و اکنون حالِ من بعد از تموم شدن این کتاب جذاب: (به نقل از حالِ راویِ بی اسم داستان)" تمامِ حواس ام چنان سردرگم شده که دیگر توانی برای ارائه توضیح به من ندارد" :)

وقتی "تئوری اتمی" ، "دوسلبی"، "جو(روحِ راویمون)"، "اومنیوم"، "بازدید از ابدیت" ، "پیر مترز"، "جعبه آب" ، "سومین پلیس و .... میخونی، دیگه
چیزی باقی نمیمونه واسه گفتن از این همه نبوغ و خلاقیت،و سکووووتی عمیق به پاااسِ خوندنِ این کتابِ معرکه میکنم:)
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