O’BRIEN, Flann. The Third Policeman. London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1967. First edition. pp. 200. Brown papered boards, title in gilt on spine. A near fine copy in near fine pictorial dust jacket. €875
This work, O’Nolan’s second novel, did the rounds with publishers and met with repeated rejections, causing him such disappointment that he made no further attempt to have it published (it appeared posthumously in 1967).
Grimly comic “posthumous fantasy”; the protagonist of which is a murderer who, unknowingly, has himself been murdered, and finds himself in a warped alternate Ireland. The surreal landscape, imbued with a sense of the literary weird, is signalled in the work by what Jorge Luis Borges called “games with time and infinity” (Clute & Grant). O’Brien, “one of the finest of modern Irish fantasists”, wrote this, his second novel between 1939 and 1940. It did the rounds with publishers and met with repeated rejections, causing him such disappointment that he withdrew the manuscript from circulation, and the work was consequently published posthumously.