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April 17, 2018

Flann O’ Brian The Third Policeman

by N@ncy



  1. The unnamed narrator of The Third Policeman is
  2. …obsessed with the bizarre philosopher De Selby.
  3. In in order to publish a book about De Selby
  4. …the narrator agrees to murder a man for his money.
  5. However, the narrator’s partner in turn murders the narrator.
  6. Then the narrator is thrust into a bizarre journey through the afterlife.
  7. It was a wild and at times  incomprehensible roller-coaster ride!


Ch 1-3:

  1. The novel begins with the narrator’s life.
  2. recounts the narrator’s whole life and
  3. the commission of a murder
  4. narrator dies… murdered by his partner in crime.
  5. Here’s the clue: neither he nor the reader knows this.
  6. Luckily I read a synopsis of the story before opening the book
  7. …so I tried to discover subltle clues
  8. …that would indicate the narrator is dead.
  9. I remained #Clueless.


Ch 4-7

  1. The fourth chapter marks the narrator’s full entry
  2. …into the afterlife.
  3. The narrator encounters a police barracks.
  4. Two policemen are obsessed with bicycles!
  5. O’Brian mentions bicycles 188x in the book
  6. …and for the life of me
  7. …I could not figure out what a bicycle
  8. was supposed to represent!
  9. #Frustrating.


Ch 8-12

  1. The narrator delves further and further into the strange world of the afterlife
  2. Down a hidden left-hand turn a short distance from the police station
  3. …there is an underground structure known as eternity.
  4. Now I really #NeedCoffee.
  5. The narrator follows the long road underground
  6. …only to reemerge into the world and
  7. find out that he’s been dead sixteen years.
  8. Shocked….the narrator returns to the afterlife to restart the cycle.



  1. I usually don’t explain the plot of a book
  2. …in this case I made an exception.
  3. If you decide to read this book….think twice.
  4. A piece of literature does have merit
  5. …even though it does not manage
  6. …to reach the common reader…like me.
  7. I did not enjoy the book,  although there are
  8. ..many people who believe O’ Brian’s  is an important
  9. …post modern Irish writer of the 20th C.
  10. O’ Brian wrote The Third Policeman in 1939-1940.
  11. O’ Brian was a morose drunk who led an
  12. …uneventful life as a civil servant in Dublin.
  13. He showed initial promise in that career
  14. …but the drink gradually sapped his enthusiasm.
  15. After reading  this book I wondered if O’ Brian wrote
  16. while in the throes of whiskey.
  17. His mind must have been  ‘expanded’ to develop many strange concepts.
  18. At times it is baffling
  19. ….and I tried so hard to appreciate it.
  20. Flann O’ Brian never found a publisher for this book
  21. always rejected.
  22. After plodding through the book
  23. …I can see why a literary agent decided
  24. …it  would not become a commercial success.
  25. Surprise, we are still reading it after 78 years!



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