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The Dalkey Archive by Flann O'brien

The Dalkey Archive

Part of the Harper Perennial Modern Classics Series
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A sort of sequel to O’Brien’s best known book The Third Policeman, following characters from the latter. If you haven’t read him before then The Dalkey Archives gives you a general idea of his style - slightly surreal but still capturing the Irish psyche, but definitely try The Third Policeman too, it’s a classic that should be read by all.


The Dalkey Archive by Flann O'brien

From the author of the classic novel 'At-Swim-Two-Birds' comes this ingenious tale which follows the mad and absurd ambitions of a scientist determined to destroy the world. Flann O'Brien's third novel, 'The Dalkey Archive' is a riotous depiction of the extraordinary events surrounding theologian and mad scientist De Selby's attempt to destroy the world by removing all the oxygen from the atmosphere. Only Michael Shaughnessy, 'a lowly civil servant', and James Joyce, alive and well and working as a barman in the nearby seaside resort of Skerries, can stop the inimitable De Selby in his tracks.


'Flann O'Brien is inventive, his storytelling is swift and sure, making the eccentric seem natural and the commonplace hilarious.'
The Times

The Dalkey Archive is worth every penny for the hilarious fourth chapter alone in which De Selby and his two drinking companions in aqualungs converse with St Augustine in an underwater cave off Dalkey seafront. A wicked yet affectionate satire on Irishry.' City Limits

'O'Brien's dialogue is keen and inspired, the prose lucid and sharp with a blend of lunatic improbable and seamless quotidian.' Irish Times

About the Author

Flann O'brien

Flann O’Brien was the pseudonym of Brian O'Nolan (5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966). He was an Irish novelist and satirist, best known for his novels At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman. He also wrote many humorous columns in the Irish Times under the name Myles na gCopaleen.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th April 2007


Flann O'brien

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HarperPerennial an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


192 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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