Flann O'Brien's first novel is a brilliant impressionistic jumble of ideas, mythology and nonsense. Operating on many levels it incorporates plots within plots, giving full rein to O'Brien's dancing intellect and Celtic wit. The undergraduate narrator lives with his uncle in Dublin, drinks too much with his friends and invents stories peopled with hilarious and unlikely characters, one of whom, in a typical O'Brien conundrum, creates a means by which women can give birth to full-grown people. Flann O'Brien's blend of farce, satire and fantasy result in a remarkable, astonishingly innovative book.
A comic trip through hell in Ireland, as told by a murderer, The Third Policeman is another inspired bit of confusing and comic lunacy from the warped imagination and lovably demented pen of Flann O'Brien, author of At Swim-Two-Birds. There's even a small chance you'll figure out what's going on if you read the publisher's note that appears on the last page.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. If ever a book was brought to life by a reading, it is this presentation of O'Brien's posthumously published classic. Norton individually crafts voices and personalities for each character in such a way that a listener might imagine an entire cast of voice talent working overtime. This is a comic/surreal tale of a one-legged gentleman farmer who participates in a poorly planned botched robbery-turned-murder, only to find himself having a long conversation with the dead man shortly after the deed. In addition he hears from his own soul, who he names Joe. Joe's voice is that of a wry observer with a voice of calm, removed authority, whereas dead man Mathers' voice is completely nasal, at once sickly and droll. Mathers sends the farmer to a two-dimensional barracks of three metaphysical policemen. Here he finds himself in a world where people can become bicycles and eternity is within walking distance. Norton's rendition of the main policeman, Sergeant Pluck, tips the reading into a full-out performance. The enormous blustery fellow with red cheeks and brushy mustache and eyebrows is portrayed like a jolly yet dangerous Disney walrus. Norton's Irish brogue, accentuated to different degrees with the various characters, ties the ribbon on a perfect presentation of this absurd and chilling masterpiece. (Apr.)
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Two young orphans, Finbarr and Manus, are taken into the household of the eccentric Mr Collopy where they grew up surrounded by the smells of good whiskey and bad cooking. Manus proves to be a business genius, and this talent takes him from teaching people to walk the tightrope by correspondence course to the Vatican. The greatest satirical Irish writer of the twentieth-century turns his attention to the garrulous Irish and vividly captures the wit, extravagance and glory of their talk.
Using a play by Karl and Josef Capek as source, Flann O'Brien locates his insect drama in Dublin, his most familiar stalking- territory. His adaptation is a vehicle for ridicule and invective, targeting race, religion, greed, identity and purpose. With his extraordinary ear for dialogue, O'Brien creates his own fantastical world, and the outcome is a hilarious satire of Irish stereotypes - as Orangemen, Dubliners, Corkagians and culchies become warring ants, bees, crickets, dung-beetles, and other small-minded invertebrae. The lost text of this play, Hilton Edwards' prompt copy from the 1943 Gate Theatre performance, was discovered in the archives at Northwestern University, Illinois. 'A play by Ireland's most celebrated comic writer, Flann O'Brien, lost for fifty years, has been discovered in the archives of Northwestern University, Illinois, by an American academic. The O'Brien play, Rhapsody in Stephen's Green, was put on in Dublin by the Edwards-MacLiammoir company at the Gaiety...
Under the pseudonym Myles na Gopaleen, Flann O' Brien wrote a daily column in the 'Irish Times' called 'Cruiskeen Lawn' for over twenty years which hilariously satirised the absurdities and solemnities of Dublin life. With shameless irony and relentless high spirits Myles' 'Cruiskeen Lawn' became the most feared, respected and uproarious newspaper column in the whole of Ireland from its first appearance in 1940 until his death in 1966. This wonderful selection from the 'Cruiskeen Lawn' columns is a modern classic that will appeal to lovers of absurdity and sharp comic observation everywhere.
This riotous collection at last gathers together an expansive selection of Flann O'Brien's shorter fiction in a single volume, as well as O'Brien's last and unfinished novel, Slattery's Sago Saga. Also included are new translations of several stories originally published in Irish, and other rare pieces. With some of these stories appearing here in book form for the very first time, and others previously unavailable for decades, Short Fiction
is a welcome gift for every Flann O'Brien fan worldwide.
Flann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan, aka Myles na Gopaleen) adopted not only a new name (George Knowall) for these rarely seen pieces, but also a new persona. Writing his column 'Bones of Contention' for the Nationalist and Leinster Times, he took on the character of the quizzical and enquiring humorist who might be found in a respectable public house in Carlow: erudite, urbane and informative, he is the country cousin of the Myles of Dublin, yet still a facet of the complex character who wrote The Third Policeman and At Swim-Two-Birds. His delight in words, his uncanny ability to see through humbug, are unparalleled. Writers as disparate as James Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Graham Greene and Anthony Burgess have marvelled at his talent. New readers will discover that he is one of the funniest writers in any language, at any time. Brian O'Nolan, who also wrote under the pen names of Flann O'Brien and Myles na Gopaleen, was born in 1911 in Co Tyrone. A resident of Dublin, he graduated from...