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Third Policeman, The

tour de force

narrator brien novel

a novel by Flann O'Brien, first published posthumously in 1967. The work, a disquieting and richly comic imaginative and stylistic tour de force, is recounted by an anonymous narrator, who describes events leading up to and following his killing of an elderly farmer. His self-possession is gradually eroded by the intensely strange phenomena he witnesses after entering the world of police sergeants MacCruiskeen and Pluck, quasi-mythological figures obsessed with bicycles and atomic physics. The narrator is immersed to a similar extent in the work of the metaphysician de Selby, whose extremely eccentric writings on the illusory nature of reality are dwelt on at length in the text and its footnotes. Having escaped and encountered the elusive third policeman, Sergeant Fox, who bears a disturbing similarity to the man he has killed, the narrator momentarily realizes he is dead; in a state of deep bewilderment, he returns to the point at which his experiences with the policemen recommence. O'Brien described the novel as ‘happening in a sort of hell… where none of the rules and laws (not even the law of gravity) holds good’.

Angela Thirkell (Angela Margaret Thirkell) Biography - (1890–1961), (Angela Margaret Thirkell), Three Houses, Wild Strawberries, Pomfret Towers, The Brandons, Cheerfulness Breaks In [next] [back] Third Man, The - The Third Man, The End of the Affair, The Quiet American

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