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The Dalkey Archive (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  1,395 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
From the author of the classic novel ‘At-Swim-Two-Birds’ comes this ingenious tale which follows the mad and absurd ambitions of a scientist determined to destroy the world.

Flann O'Brien's third novel, 'The Dalkey Archive' is a riotous depiction of the extraordinary events surrounding theologian and mad scientist De Selby's attempt to destroy the world by removing all the
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 16th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published 1964)
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This is the third title I’ve read by Flann O’Brien in as many weeks, and as it happens, I read it alongside the third book in François Rabelais’ Gargantua series, Le tiers livre (The Third Book). Can I find further correspondences in that unlikely set of circumstances? Have you three minutes to waste…

While I admit that the possibility of finding a correspondence may seem logic-defying at first glance given that Rabelais’ book is set in the 1500s in France and O’Brien’s is set in the 1900s in Ire
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"He sat down at the piano and after some slow phrases, erupted into what Mick with inward wit, would dub a headlong chromatic dysentery which was ‘brilliant’ in the bad sense of being inchoate and, to his ear at least, incoherent. A shattering chord brought the disorder to a close. –Well, he said, rising, what did you think of that? Hackett looked wise. –I think I detected Liszt in one of his less guarded moments, he said".

Do yourself a favour and get hold of this surreal comic
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1. Have you read Ulysses? If yes, proceed to (2). If no, do so then proceed to (2)
2. Have you read At Swim Two Birds? If yes, proceed to (3). If no, do so then proceed to (3)
3. Have you read The Third Policeman? If yes, proceed to (4). If no, do so then proceed to (4)
4. Have you read the Dalkey Archive? If yes, proceed to (5). If no, do so then proceed to (5).
5. Have a celebratory tipple
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again adjacent reading adds an interesting aspect to a book. Having just finished both War and Peace and The Dalkey Archive I find that these two very disparate writers come to the same conclusion: man is a fool if he thinks he can carry out a grand plan.

I also read At Swim Two-Birds very recently, which with Dalkey bookends O’Brien’s novel writing career. Birds is completely anarchic, a wild parody of Irish folklore and blarney. Dalkey has equally surreal episodes embedded in a more tradit
MJ Nicholls
Flawless little novel centred around Mick who single-handedly saves the world from asphyxiation, rescues his ailing marriage with the restless Mary, and helps steer a still-living James Joyce into the Jesuit Order.

All in a day's work.
Sin llegar al nivel de 'El Tercer Policía', por otra parte difícil de superar, ‘Crónica de Dalkey’ es una obra con la que divertirse y en la que da gusto sumergirse. El mundo creado por O’Brien es disparatado y lleno de ironía; pero eso sí, has de dejarte llevar y entrar en su juego, dejarte embaucar.

En esta novela hay de todo: cuevas submarinas, debates sobre teología y filosofía, diálogos con San Agustín, disputas sobre lo ocurrido realmente con Jonás y la ballena o sobre Judas, un sargento de
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un sacerdote del visionario narra le avventure di confine di un irlandese aspirante salvatore del genere umano, alle prese con scienziati pazzi e eretici, uomini bicicletta, poliziotti improbabili, esilaranti conversioni, amori e amicizie ad alta gradazione alcolica, evocazioni spiritiche teologiche e incontri surreali con scrittori resuscitati divenuti camerieri in incognito. Lingua ineffabile veicolo di epistemologie linguistiche: da non perdere.
Leni Iversen
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
In the Dalkey Archive we meet mad genius De Selby, whose work the main character of The Third Policeman is so obsessed with. We also meet a younger version of some of the other characters from that book. But since O'Brien huffily decided not to have The Third Policeman published after he was refused by one publisher, The Dalkey Archive was published first and even contains some of the dialogue from The Third Policeman.

This book features a mad scientist who can do things to time that allows him t
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best book I've read in weeks! I gather O'Brien felt a bit stereotyped as a one-book author based on At Swim-Two-Birds but I preferred this one. I guess it could be called a comic novel, but subtly so, and it incorporates some supernatural elements that are not intended to be ludicrous or unbelievable.
Every character has some sort of grandiose obsession that remains somewhat ambiguous as to whether it is actually true. There is, 1) the "mad scientist" who has invented what he says is a mechanism
Lukasz Pruski
"One might describe a plenum as a phenomenon or existence full of itself but inert. Obviously space does not satisfy such a condition. But time is a plenum, immobile, immutable, ineluctable, irrevocable, a condition of absolute stasis. Time does not pass. Change and movement may occur within time."

Flann O'Brien (pseudonym of Brian O'Nolan) is my literary discovery of 2017. This great yet not widely known Irish writer is the author of The Third Policeman , to me the funniest novel ever written i
Vittorio Ducoli
Piccoli tesori nascosti sotto la superficie

Flann O'Brien è un autore irlandese di culto, che ha scritto pochi romanzi, essendo innanzitutto giornalista, ma che ha lasciato un segno indelebile nella letteratura del '900 con opere come At Swim-Two-Birds (titolo intraducibile, ma che probabilmente poteva essere interpretato meglio dell'orribile Un pinta di inchiostro irlandese con cui Adelphi ce lo propone) e Il terzo poliziotto.
Questi due romanzi furono scritti da O'Brien prima della seconda guerr
Aaron Arnold
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2016
Every O'Brien novel I've read has been really funny, and The Dalkey Archive is no different. The book centers around Mick and his struggles: him and his friend Hackett's interactions with the mad scientist De Selby; his efforts to help James Joyce join the Jesuits; and his arms-length relationship with his girlfriend Mary. While it somewhat recycles a few plot elements of The Third Policeman (the De Selby character, policemen on bicycles), as well as the literary playfulness of At Swim-Two-Birds ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brian O’Nolan was an Irish civil servant who wrote fiction and journalism under pseudonyms. Flann O’Brien was the name O’Nolan used on his fiction and it is the name of the author of The Dalkey Archive, a metafictional novel that veers from the philosophical to the nonsensical, from the tender to the coarse and from the religious to the irreverent, often in the same sentence.

The Dalkey Archive is much more than a novel and at the same time much less than a story. There are linear threads of sort
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fact that I read Flann O’Brien’s The Dalkey Archive over a month ago and am only now getting around to writing about it here would be a convenient excuse for me to use to cover up the fact that I don’t have too much to write about it. The Dalkey Archive is a fun little story about an Irishman named Mick and a few quirky individuals with whom he gets wrapped up, including his cynical friend Hackett, a mad scientist named De Selby, and the actually-not-dead-but-alive-and-in-hiding author James ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate a menu with pictures

1. As an announcer at my young son's hockey game my first spoken words in the open mic were to inform the parents in the arena that "I sure do swear a lot."
2. My son has no interest in Batman v Superman, expressly citing my ugly divorce from his mother a few years back as the root cause.

Common rules:
1. When expressing a sole opinion please avoid words that pretend others agree with you, such as "That's what she said."

Current status:
1. Impaled on
Lubov Yakovleva
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Нужно было, чтобы прошло время.
Посчитаем, сколько? Три месяца, и я готова наконец открыть рот, сказать про книгу, а потом закрыть рот.

Хорошая книга.


Нет, не всё.
К этому обязательно придётся присовокупить признание в любви к Флэнну О'Брайну, а также приложить горькое сожаление, что эта книга последняя и больше не будет.
Она вообще последняя. О'Брайен её написал и через два года умер.
Чувствуется, что это уже край, конец, итог. Или хочется, чтобы такое чувствовалось? Не знаю, не уверена, но точн
Juan Pablo
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otro libro genial de O'Brien. Esta vez es el mismo De Selby el que entra en escena, con la intención de destruir el mundo. El protagonista busca impedirlo, enfrentándose a una serie de situaciones delirantes al parecer típicas del autor.
A medida que transcurre el relato, aparece el mismo San Agustín (personaje en cuya boca O'Brien pondrá un sinfín de ironías y críticas hilarantes) y también James Joyce, que se nos muestra como ferviente católico e indignado por esa novela difamatoria que ha sido
J.M. Hushour
This is probably the weakest of Flann's five novels, but that isn't necessarily bad, since his other work is so awesome. This is the tale of the fickle in love and alcohol Mick who meets a local scientist (De Selby from the "Third Policeman") who intends to destroy the world, shades of Ras al-Ghul, with a deoxygenating substance he calls the DMP (Dublin Metropolitan Police). De Selby can also use DMP to stop time and visit with apparations from heaven, like John the Baptist and St. Augustine, so ...more
Christine Granados
I may never look at bicycles the same way again. This book is absurd in the best way possible. It was cumbersome for me to read because I had to stop every other word to look up all the references the main characters and St. Augustine were referencing when they spoke—Nicaea, Chrysostim, Manichoean, Plotinus... I learned that I'm dumb but the silliness of the book kept me interested and made me feel not so stupid. The entire book was silly, silly. I learned a wee bit of Irish too—spawns,rashers, ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Frederic Bush
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly I got this because I was amused at the meta-level of The Dalkey Archive (the publisher) publishing The Dalkey Archive (the book). But it was incredibly funny! Wacky drunken Irish Catholic philosophizing. A mad scientist has discovered a way to alter time and uses it to debate the Church Fathers and rapidly age whiskey, as anyone would. James Joyce has faked his death and become a bartender. A policeman given to malapropisms explains for many pages that the atomic theory of matter means th ...more
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flann O'Brien was certainly a man who could come up with some astounding ideas. A man who plans to destroy the world because it deserves it , James Joyce alive and working as a barman in Skerries and of course the policeman who steals bicycles to prevent the exchange of molecules. His use of language is renowned and he can be funny. That said I preferred "The Third Policeman" as a novel. I also feel s sense of underlying bitterness throughout his writings but that might just be because I know hi ...more
Tom Hurst
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting oddity, combining a fast-moving post-war apocalyptic caper with some comic episodes, a lot of religious and surrealist philosophising, wordplay, a lot of drinking, a little bit of a love story, and James Joyce, alive and well and not quite as you might expect.

I enjoyed this but it felt like the plot tension was resolved a little too easily. The style was very enjoyable in many places and full of mischief.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritism
(Lightning Review)

This deserves a full review, which I intend on giving when able. Easily second only to Two-Birds and a whole helluva lotta fun. Flann was so much more than a comic author. He was one of the best. Ever. He's one of the troika of Irish Immortals, and, yep, you have to read everything he did. That, sadly, ain't a whole lot. Raise your glasses, bastards.

Lightning review grade: whiskey, beer, and seltzer water (simultaneously)
Dec 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
Short absurd novel that's kinda like a selection of O'Brien's greatest hits, including: bicycles, an odd genius named De Selby, policeman, drinking, pancakes. I wouldn't have minded the whole of it holding together better, and no doubt some of the Joyce references and Christian allusions were lost on me, but a fairly enjoyable read nonetheless.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a very odd book. Seems a bit haphazard. Least favorite O'Brien, so far.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
El hombre que siempre tiene razón tenía razón: homérico.
Jayden gonzalez
micks to-do list at the end of that one chapter
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5/5 - not a fan at all.
John Ryan
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Top three Flann. Contains some of his saddest writing, but obviously also hilarious throughout. I wish it was 500 pages.
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The BURIED Book Club: Dalkey Archive 2 48 Mar 23, 2013 12:19PM  
The Dalkey Archive vs The Third Policeman 3 41 Mar 17, 2012 06:09AM  
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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, in

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“Descartes spent far too much time in bed subject to the persistent hallucination that he was thinking. You are not free from a similar disorder.” 30 likes
“...and you would be unutterably flibbergasted if you knew the number of stout bicycles that partake serenely of humanity.” 1 likes
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