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The Third Policeman [PDF] ❤ The Third Policeman By Flann O'Brien – 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 foll 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 scientistphilosopher de Selby he is introduced to Atomic Theory and its The Third ePUB ´ 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 andcontradictions that three eccentric policeman present to himThe last of O'Brien's novels to be published.

10 thoughts on “The Third Policeman

  1. Fionnuala Fionnuala says:

    This review has been removed by the Conformity Police According to our legal advisers the review matches the forbidden category of ‘non review’ in all relevant aspects and has therefore been placed in review detention The definition of a 'non review' is one that is not in conformity i e departs from the accepted form in some legal or moral manner For a guide to conformity see Footnote 1'Non reviews' interfere with their books in what we consider to be highly suspect ways They lift their layers and peer into their intimate places in a lascivious manner They fiddle with the inner workings of books and remove entire sections with the aim of remodeling them to suit various illicit purposes Such shameless fondling of a book’s pages we condemn outright It is unacceptable that a book and its review should be allowed to fraternize so closely that what was intrinsic to the book is found to have migrated to the review leading to instability in the review world and major confusion for all concerned Further such reviews have a tendency to strike out for a personal life independent of the system that supports them This needless to say can not be allowed We believe that the only solution is to arrest the offending review and detain it indefinitely in a place where it can cause no further confusion to book or reader‘Non reviews’ of this type have been allowed to circulate on the highways and byways of Goodreads County for far too long According to our figures than half the reviews posted in recent times fit this category and of the rest at least fifty percent are leaning perilously close to the same dangerous tendency Of the remainder an unfortunately large proportion are deemed to be seriously unstable so that by our calculations the actual amount of conforming reviews today is so minuscule as to be almost invisible Drastic measures are called for if we are to succeed in our aim of erradicating this ‘non review’ phenomenon completely and restoring the status of the one true and approved review format see Footnote 1 By posting this proclamation in place of the 'non review' and here it must be stated that the Third Policeman is in no way to blame for the particularly immoral 'non review' it inspired we hope to have cancelled out its pernicious effects which had they been allowed to be disseminated would have caused untold miscegenation in the reviewing world for years to come That this innocent book should have been the object of so absurd an attempt on its virtue is in itself absurd and only underlines the utmost necessity of our intervention in this matterWe advise our loyal supporters to read this proclamation and then go on their way silently as they have always done in the past leaving no trace of their passage We know we can depend on their absolute discretion in this matter Others are strongly advised to do the same This review box is now locked and access to it is denied to all unauthorised persons The 'like' button and 'comment' function are likewise off limits Trespassers beware Proviso Those who press the 'like' button without having read the review will be treated fairly if they can bring forward sufficient evidence to that effect Otherwise a test of non knowledge may have to be administered uestions along the lines of 'What do you not know about 'non reviews'?' and 'Is it about a bicycle?' are being devised——————————————————————Footnote 1 The Accepted Form the review will contain a short synopsis of the plot it will include the words ‘compelling’ ‘intriguing’ and ‘fresh viewpoint’ and it will finish with a short summary of what has been stated already The briefest contact with the book will be sufficient to provide these elements and no unwarranted interference with the book's intimate spaces need result The benefits of such reviews for readers include being able to give an opinion about a book's plot without the necessity of reading it for themselves leading to considerable saving of time and effort

  2. Cait Poytress Cait Poytress says:

    According to the Atomic Theory I am 80% couch

  3. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    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 startOtherwise not

  4. BlackOxford BlackOxford says:

    The Irish ExistentialistSo if Alice had fallen down the rabbit hole in Ireland rather than in England the result could well be The Third Policemen Or 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 likely that O’Brien is engaged in a massive send up of Everything Irish from its grammar to its destinyO’Brien’s protagonist who has no name for most of the book is on a uest not a very honourable uest 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 eually 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 than a passing resemblance to the 18th century 'immaterialist' Irish philosopher Bishop Berkeley At least both figures treat life as 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 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 freuent emergence of Walter Mitty like fantasies among the many other uestionable 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 useful interests All are expert on the Atomic Theory which explains the progressive transformation of human beings into bicycles and vice versaRemarkably 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 euivalent 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 uestioning of those like the devil who prefer to give negative answers to every uestion 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 wayThere 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 uestion I’d have to say with definite ambiguity ‘No’One is tempted to think of the modern discussion of the AIHuman 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 or less accidentally but end up not trusting each other although they sleep in the same bed

  5. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    The Third Policeman Flann O'BrienThe 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 1967تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دوم ماه نوامبر سال 2012 میلادیعنوان سومین پلیس؛ نوشته فلن اوبراین؛ مترجم پیمان خاکسار؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، چشمه، 1390، در 256ص، شابک 9786002290144؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی سده 20مپسری که نمی‌داند چرا مادرش در کودکی‌ او، خانه زندگی خویش را ول کرد و رفت، و بعدش هم پدرش دنبال مادرش رفت، و هیچ وقت 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 تفکرات مفسری به‌ نام «دوسلبی»، می‌شود، اندیشمندی که برای هر رخداد طبیعی، نظراتی غیرطبیعی ارائه می‌دهد؛ او که برای چاپ کتابی که درباره‌ ی «دوسلبی» نوشته، نیازمند پول است، مرد ثروت‌مندی را می‌کشد، اما وقتی برای برداشتن پول‌ها به‌ خانه‌ ی مرد می‌رود، با روح آن مرد مواجه می‌شود، و یک‌باره وارد دنیایی می‌شود، که گویی با قوانین خود ساخته‌ ی «دوسلبی» هدایت می‌شود؛ او که شوکه شده، دو چیز را هم‌زمان درک می‌کند نخست اینکه نامش را از دست داده، و دوم این‌که شخصی با نام «جو» در مغز او به‌ وجود آمده، که افکار او را هدایت می‌کند؛ فکر می‌کنید این همه ماجرا که من تازه خلاصه‌ اش را گفتم، در چند صفحه‌ ی کتاب روی می‌دهد؟ باورش سخت است اما این‌ها تنها سی صفحه‌ ی نخستین داستان تقریبا دویست و پنجاه صفحه‌ ای جناب «فلن اوبراین» هستند؛ مردی که پس از سال‌ها به‌ ما خوانشگران مشتاق فارسی زبان، معرفی شده، و در کنار «جیمز جویس»، و «بکت»، سه غول ادبیات «ایرلند» هستند؛ ا شربیانی

  6. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    It Might be the Supreme PancakeFlann O’Brien finished this novel in 1940 but it wasn’t published until 1967 the year after he died of cancerIt must have broken his heart that it was initially rejected for publication It’s arguable that it was finally released at a far 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 acceptedFlann O’Brien ranks with great wordsmiths and humourists like James Joyce Samuel Beckett and Spike MilliganThe 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 eually be circular or recurrent To say any or to be any less circumlocutious would be to enter spoiler territoryThe novel is intelligent challenging playful and economical It makes a powerful case for minimalism against maximalismYou can enter and re enter this compact almost infinitesimal world of infinite jest with infinite pleasureTo paraphrase the first policeman It is nearly an insoluble pancake a conundrum of inscrutable potentialities a snorterFor 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 itIs 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 belowWhat 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 and 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 ie 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 livesA Journey is An HallucinationA 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 briefEach 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 BThe human mind groups together millions of these rests and mistakenly calls the aggregate motionHowever 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 filmIf 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 illusoryThe Triangulation of the Bicycular DialecticThese are two very different perspectives on life and death morality and mortality But I won't say any 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 pancakeHowever I'll disclose some uestions I asked while reading the novelIf 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 uestions that are to be asked and never answer anyI hope you get to read and enjoy the novelFOOTNOTES1 Reprised in The Dalkey Archive SOUNDTRACKMiles Davis ''Ascenseur pour l'Echafaud''Miles Moreau Clowns Collapse BoardYou shake your head you can't believeThe sickening stability of my lifeYou've got about an hour leftAnd then you're standingOn the collapse board againAnd feel the rope around your neck again

  7. Tara Tara says:

    Absurdity done right

  8. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    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 tomorrowSo 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 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

  9. Geoff Geoff says:

    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

  10. Jim Elkins Jim Elkins says:

    What Does A Genuinely Avant Garde Novel Look Like?Everyone has a theory about this novel There are at least five commonly cited explanations1 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's2 The book is an indirect but elouent 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 below3 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 edition4 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 Books5 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 onBy 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 necessary than his humor and desperate and painful

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