The Complete Novels

The Complete Novels Flann O Brien along with Joyce and Beckett is part of the holy trinity of modern Irish literature His five novels collected here in one volume are a monument to his inspired lunacy and gleefully dem

  • Title: The Complete Novels
  • Author: Flann O'Brien
  • ISBN: 9780307267498
  • Page: 350
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Flann O Brien, along with Joyce and Beckett, is part of the holy trinity of modern Irish literature His five novels collected here in one volume are a monument to his inspired lunacy and gleefully demented genius O Brien s masterpiece, At Swim Two Birds, is an exuberant literary send up and one of the funniest novels of the twentieth century The novel s narrator is writFlann O Brien, along with Joyce and Beckett, is part of the holy trinity of modern Irish literature His five novels collected here in one volume are a monument to his inspired lunacy and gleefully demented genius O Brien s masterpiece, At Swim Two Birds, is an exuberant literary send up and one of the funniest novels of the twentieth century The novel s narrator is writing a novel about another man writing a novel, in a Celtic knot of interlocking stories The riotous cast of characters includes figures stolen from Gaelic legends, along with assorted students, fairies, ordinary Dubliners, and cowboys, some of whom try to break free of their author s control and destroy him The narrator of The Third Policeman, who has forgotten his name, is a student of philosophy who has committed murder and wanders into a surreal hell where he encounters such oddities as the ghost of his victim, three policeman who experiment with space and time, and his own soul who is named Joe.The Poor Mouth, a bleakly hilarious portrait of peasants in a village dominated by pigs, potatoes, and endless rain, is a giddy parody aimed at those who would romanticize Gaelic culture A na ve young orphan narrates the deadpan farce The Hard Life, and The Dalkey Archive is an outrageous satiric fantasy featuring a mad scientist who uses relativity to age his whiskey, a policeman who believes men can turn into bicycles, and an elderly, bar tending James Joyce With a new Introduction by Keith Donohue

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    About “Flann O'Brien

    • Flann O'Brien

      Pseudonym of Brian Nuall in, 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, into an Irish speaking family His father had learned Irish while a young man during the Gaelic revival the son was later to mock O Brien s childhood has been described as happy, though somewhat insular, as the language spoken at home was not that spoken by their neighbours The Irish language had long been in decline, and Strabane was not in an Irish speaking part of the country The family moved frequently during O Brien s childhood, finally settling in Dublin in 1925 Four years later O Brien took up study in University College Dublin.Flann O Brien is considered a major figure in twentieth century Irish literature Flann O Brien novels have attracted a wide following for their bizarre humour and Modernist metafiction.The caf and shop of Cult rlann McAdam Fiaich culturlann , at the heart of the Belfast Gaeltacht Quarter, is named An Ceathr P il The Fourth Policeman , as a play on words of the title of O Brien s book The Third Policeman.

    401 thoughts on “The Complete Novels

    • Flann O'Brien writes some of the most bizarre fiction I have ever read. Considering the period in which it was written, it is far ahead of its time. There are plot twists, stories within stories, demons and fairies and curses (oh my!), vindictive saints, haunted houses, conspiracy theories, mad scientists, odd clerics, eccentric policemen, domineering uncles, bewildered orphans, bicycles with minds of their own, freely flowing liquor, and bartenders with secrets.O'Brien has a way of starting a s [...]

    • At Swim Two-birds is probably the funniest book in the English language--especially Finn MacCool's description of what it takes to be accepted into his "tribe." The Third Policeman I haven't reread yet but loved originally. The other 3 novels are of much lower stature but fairly interesting, with occasionally wicked darts of off-the-wall humor. At his best, there was no one like O'Brien

    • Okay. Fulfilling a promise I made to myself at the beginning of the year. Which was to read my lovely Everyman's library edition of the Complete Novels of Flann O'Brien from cover to cover. Year's almost out. So here we go!

    • O'Brien is wonderful. Very funny--the more one knows about Ireland and the Irish the more hilarious his work becomes but it is hardly necessary to have even heard of Ireland to enjoy his writing. "At Swim-To-Birds" may be the first post-modern novel (unless one counts "Tristam Shandy").I was reminded of "Molloy" by Samuel Beckett while reading "At Swim" although probably because I expected or even wanted O'Brien to be linked to one of the certified recent geniuses of Irish letters--O'Brien doesn [...]

    • Starting with At-Swim-Two-Birds.-- This book took me quite awhile to get into. Having read The Third Policeman, I was expecting to be blown away from page one. However, O'Brien did nothing but set the stage for confusion and puzzlement!I was no expert at Irish Literature and Folklore, but it became apparent to me quite early on in this novel that if I was going to read At Swim and understand it at all, I needed to do my homework. Thank you Wiki!! Imagine doing 'homework' in order to grasp where [...]

    • Great collection for fans of Irish literature, and a real find if you've never read O'Brien. Only caveat is that the writing is very Irish, and it helps to have some background. For instance, "The Poor Mouth" (tr. from Gaelic), though funny in its own right, is a wicked sendup of traditional Gaelic-language works such as Tomas O'Crohan's "The Islandman" (the other four novels were written in English). The weird and wonderful "At Swim-Two-Birds" is worth the price of admission. Maybe O'Brien's wr [...]

    • Saving the hardest "cake" at the end (of all other works) for me to "bite", At Swim-Two-Birds, turned out to be "the most delicious" for the mind. What novel, art, music, and the expression of science & math can be, his works achieved the ultimate bliss, on the verge of lunacy.

    • This anthology is a telling story in its own right, which is just the sort of meta-fictional trick which O'Brien seemed to enjoy. The staggering comic genius of At Swim-Two-Birds and the Third Policeman, gives way to the more traditional satire of Poor Mouth and the Hard Life, to a sort of anti-climactic dilution in the Dalkey archive.The reason for this was the failure of the Third Policeman to be published, which caused the author to abandon 'Flann O'Brien', one of his many pennames, and conce [...]

    • кто бы мне все ж объяснил, почему русский перевод романа Брайана О'Нолана "At Swim-Two-Birds" называется "О водоплавающих"? я понимаю, почему другой его перевод называется "Злой дух Пука, Добрая Фея, царь Свиини, я и мой дядя" - это нам перечислили половину персонажей (не надо было оста [...]

    • Read the STOP SMILING review of The Complete Novels of Flann O'Brien.Flann O’Brien, the pen name of Brian O’Nolan, was 11 in 1922, the year Ulysses was published. O’Brien distinguishes himself from the lot who comprise the Sons O’Joyce as one of the first, and one of the best; no time-traveling ninja need disturb his infant cradle. He grew to become a faithful Joycean who had little patience for his fellow adherents. (“If I ever hear that name Joyce one more time,” he once declared, [...]

    • Sept 2015: At Swim-Two-Birds: (first read: 3-star)I don't know how to adequately review this book. It's beyond strange.There are so many twists and turns. Yet it's told in such a way that it's truly hard to follow. I recognized good writing, some humorous sections, an interesting storyline. This story would improve, I think, upon rereadingd possibly a third rereading. I will reread it one day.There are supposedly Irish myths and stories throughout this book. Perhaps knowing those would have made [...]

    • not quite sure i'd put o'brien with joyce and beckett, at least not yet. but he's damn close. read the first two novels. "at swim-two-birds" is a wild multi-narrative that weaves ancient, modern, literary and other voices wonderfully. "the third policeman" is a tighter, ultimately more compelling vision of hell that partnered well with my recent re-reading of dante's "inferno." i'll probably try at least one more of the 5 novels here, "the dalkey archive" i think, since joyce (sent up) is a char [...]

    • "The Third Policeman": so droll! Admittedly, I read it after hearing it tied to "Lost" but come on, Desmond. It's better seen as a goofy literary partner to Dylan Thomas and "Pale Fire": a foggy tale about mood and humor, not about mind-benders. As a bonus, O'Brian's grasp of particle physics isn't entirely outlandish. At this moment, you're just a few electrons away from merging with your chair.

    • "It was a queer country we were in. There was a number of blue mountains around us at what you might call a respectful distance with a glint of white water coming down the shoulders of one or two of them and they kept hemming us in and meddling oppressively with our minds."a terrifying and fascinating book. unforgettable, poetry burned upon the brain with levers of flames. a book that will burn the cerebral flesh and spit the wounds into the starry evening of eternity.

    • I've read The Third Policeman, but nothing else in this collection of five novels. Hopefully, over the next few years, I'll read the rest, but I'm not in a big rush.As for The Third Policeman, I really enjoyed it, although is it a bit obstuse and absurd--the key to it is remembering that it is meant to be funny. A very excellent book, though.

    • I only read the first two novels, At Swim two birds, and The Third Policemen. I attempted to start a couple of the other ones but they were far different stylistically and I did not want to be disappointed. At Swim, was an extremely hilarious book, and the third policemen certainly did not disappoint. This was a random find that left me wondering why I hadn't heard of Flann O'Brien previously.

    • I only read At Swim Two Birds and The Third Policeman, so I rated based on those. They are so creative and funny. I especially enjoyed the underlying morality tale in The Third Policeman. A must read!

    • Great. Really surreal story telling. Like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for adults :) If you like weird and wonderful and artistic, The Third Policeman is for you.

    • Early example of meta fiction and post modernism. Very funny and some great pathos as themes. And O'Brien's strong Irish roots give to some great writing and sentence crafting.

    • Genius, obviously, except for the slightly disappointing Dalkey Archive. Still a great plot, though.Like I said, genius. Obviously.

    • O'Brien is a personal fave and I'm reading "The Third Policeman" from this collection really enjoyed his "At Swim-Two-Birds" last year.

    • What can you say - The Third Policeman and At Swim Two Birds are modern masterpieces which everyone should read

    • At Swim-Two-Birds: *****The Third Policeman:*****The Poor Mouth:*****The Hard Life:****The Dalkey Archive:*****

    • Mind-boggling Irish humor and breathtaking cynicism. The purest antidote to all the Celtic Twilight and Saints and Scholars shite and onions!

    • 06/04/08: Just finished At-Swim-Two-Birds Was considering skipping The Third Policeman, since I read it last year, but I guess I'm partying hard with this book. WOOOOOO.

    • Excellent novels!!! Very wry and extremely entertaining!!! Anyone who wants a true insight into the Irish mentality, I strongly recommend reading these books Enjoy!!!

    • A fascinating author with a strange sense of humor. Particularly enjoyed At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman for the way O'Brien transcends some of the norms of "conventional" storytelling.

    • Have to give this one back to the libary. Finished the 1st chapter of "The Third Policeman," which is the story I got the book for. Very weird story so far. Will get it again later.

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