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View Full Version : Discuss "The Third Policeman" (Main Thread)



nickb123
12-05-2008, 10:08 PM
Hey all, here is the official main thread for discussing December's read.

Easy
12-06-2008, 08:56 AM
I struggled to find any comparisons between the book and lost other than life and death business

so i am interested to see other peoples thoughts on it

markno
12-07-2008, 01:44 AM
I found this book quite hard to read, but the ending made it all worthwhile - wow.
Lots of parallels to Lost, the room underground is like the Swan station, the ending sounds like desmonds' life (and like the game ending, but I haven't played the game, just read about it on LP).
Great choice for December
BTW, I'm in Australia and I have two copies of the book, so if anyone wants a copy I'm happy to give it away if you'll pay for PH.

jonboy861
12-07-2008, 02:09 AM
Hi everyone, hope you are all doing well. It has been awhile since I last read this book, and I really enjoyed it. I remember purchasing it right after I saw my favorite character (Desmond) reading it and putting it in his backpack before leaving the hatch, right after we met him.

It may be my memory playing tricks on me but wasn't there mention of a mystery or magic box of sorts where one can "wish" for what they want? I just looked on lostpedia and the one in [I]The Third Policeman[I] is actually called the black box. Kind of like Ben's magic box speech to Locke in season 3, the one which Locke's father (Anthony Cooper) may or may not have been brought to the island with, or was he brought there via the sub? I always figured Ben's mystery box had something to do with that. It's important to point out that Ben said the box on the island was a metaphor and not like the black box which seems to be a nactual "thing" in the novel. The "thing" or box referenced in Lost is actually the whole island, most likely due to its many fascinating properties. I also remember the underground labyrinth which reminded me of the Swan Station as well as the reference to time standing still underground there, and we all know the time shifting references that have been occurring in Lost.

I wanted to close with something I thought was pretty cool and interesting. The following is a line that was ommited from the novel and was subsequently released: "Joe had been explaining things in the meantime. He said it was again the beginning of the unfinished, the re-discovery of the familiar, the re-experience of the already suffered, the fresh-forgetting of the unremembered. Hell goes round and round. In shape it is circular and by nature it is interminable, repetitive and very nearly unbearable." I really like this quote and I can't help but think of the magnificient things yet to come in Season 5. It makes me think of our band of losties and there inability to escape their redemption island, and the "re-experience" of suffering which may await them yet again, upon their return. Perhaps the upcoming season will bring the re-discovery of the familiar, and I for one cannot wait.

Thanks everyone for listening to my two cents. I hope it makes a little bit of sense. I look forward to hearing from all of you.

MikeyTay
12-09-2008, 11:12 PM
Lots of parallels to Lost, the room underground is like the Swan station, the ending sounds like desmonds' life

I would agree with the reference to the Swan station, particuarly the way the two policemen seemed to take shifts in maintaining the 'readings' from the underground apparatus, should they get too high and some terrible unknown happen.

I can't however see the connection to Desmond's life. Please explan.

I've just finished reading the book. I can't say I enjoyed it much. The beginning and end seemed bearable but most of it seemed nonsensical and at times reminded me of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I didn't really understand the humour and I hated the writing on de Selby!

What do other people think? I can imagine it being a book you either love or hate.

markno
12-11-2008, 01:57 AM
RE:
I can't however see the connection to Desmond's life. Please explan.


I reckon it's like desmond's life in the fact that it's a cycle that keeps going over and over. Desmond went back to the past & re-lived major events with Penny. The main guy in this book is re-living the same stuff over and over.

MikeyTay
12-20-2008, 12:16 PM
There's not a lot going on here. Is that because people aren't reading the book or because you can't find any connections to Lost?

blueeagleislander
12-20-2008, 01:53 PM
Well, I loved it. I thought the Swan parallels were obvious, and interesting.

3RingCircus
12-21-2008, 06:41 AM
I just finished finals, so I'm behind on the reading.

MikeyTay
12-21-2008, 11:18 AM
I would agree with the reference to the Swan station, particuarly the way the two policemen seemed to take shifts in maintaining the 'readings' from the underground apparatus, should they get too high and some terrible unknown happen.

****************Spoiler*******************

Further to what I was saying above about maintaining the readings at a safe level, it was interesting to find towards the end of the book that the readings were actually controlled by Policeman Fox and had no purpose other than to amuse him and to keep the other policemen busy. This is exactly the same notion that was suggested to Locke and Eko at the Pearl station; that entering the numbers had no purpose other than to effectively 'amuse' the Dharma Initiative in their psychology experiment.

Of course we later found out that this was not the case and that entering the numbers was after all of 'utmost importance'.

blueeagleislander
12-21-2008, 11:38 AM
Yeah, when I first heard the plot of the book (shortly after it was on Lost) I was convinced that it was fake.

MikeyTay
12-21-2008, 06:57 PM
Yeah, when I first heard the plot of the book (shortly after it was on Lost) I was convinced that it was fake.

Ah yes of course! We first saw the book in the same episode the button is introduced, so maybe the writers were trying to throw us a red herring and make us think the button really was fake. Very subtle though. I don't suppose many people would pick that up. And I bet you felt quite smug when you saw the Pearl orientation film?

It's things like this that I love about Lost!

ilostmykeys
12-21-2008, 07:21 PM
i found the third policeman a great read.

i compare it to lost like this: that guy was lost in that world, surrounded by things that didn't make sense. the man who went off in his balloon, and the balloon came back empty.. the underground room, the transferring of objects/people (the bicycles), the one leg army, the colours of the skin, - the mysteries element that is a big factor in lost.

my hope is, lost doesn't end the same way this book ended, one sweeping answer for all the questions. it was a good ending for the book, but i was left wanting more about these mysteries that captured my imagination whilst reading the book. if lost ends like that i'd be hugely disappointed!

anyway, great book, i love the feeling that this guy is being carried with the wind, completely helpless in an utterly confusing yet fascinating world.

blueeagleislander
12-22-2008, 12:05 AM
And I bet you felt quite smug when you saw the Pearl orientation film?

Well, actually...at that stage I was like "Hmmm...why are they making it so obvious?" so the Pearl film had the same effect on me as it did on Eko.

Zeebo Hellfire
12-22-2008, 12:37 PM
Has anyone spotted the added significance of the very last word in this novel, in light of the revelation/explanation in the last chapter?

(From memory) "Is it about a bicycle?"

MikeyTay
12-24-2008, 10:50 AM
Are you talking about the word 'cycle'?

MikeyTay
12-26-2008, 12:15 PM
I've just been reading the main Third Policeman article on Lostpedia and there's a lot of ideas there that I hadn't thought of and nobody else has brought up:

* The mysterious map created by the crack spreading across the ceiling of the police cell could be compared to the blast door map in Lost.
* Time runs differently inside the bunker, just as we know it does on the Island.
* Old Mathers, sitting in his rocking chair in the darkened room with an oil lamp by his side sounds very similar to Jacob in his cabin.
* The policeman's remarks that nothing can be taken from the underground bunker that didn't arrive there from the outside world could be akin to the fact that Locke and Rose may not be able to leave the Island without their disabilities returning.

Did anybody else pick up on any of these ideas? Come to think about it, there do seem to be many parallels between Lost and The Third Policeman, and the book is starting to seem like a very useful read, even though I didn't really like it! It's a shame that more people haven't got involved in the discussion.

PS Merry Christmas everyone!

thebigbosh
12-30-2008, 11:23 AM
So yeah, I just finished reading it last week - it was quite long and laborious for me, and I found the language quite old fashioned. Not sure if you guys found the same thing reading the English version? One thing I did thankfully miss out on was the huge amount of footnotes (they were confined to the back), which along with the majority of De Selby references, I skipped.

I did see quite a lot of similarities to lost - immediately when Mathers appeared I was thinking of Jacob, the chamber- of the stations, the money box, different views of energy... My only comment here, however, was going to be exactly what ilostmykeys commented - I really hope it doesn't turn out that they actually died on the plane crash, and eventually they all discover they've been put in their own personal hell to keep circulating around it.

After I got into it, I actually quite enjoyed the book, although found it really tough to describe to people what was happening. A good, different and new read that I wouldn't have otherwise read. Thanks all. Next!

Lucy815
03-04-2009, 08:50 PM
it was quite long and laborious for me, and I found the language quite old

I felt the same way. I just couldn't get into this book, so I cheated and read the sypnosis online, but I can't help but feel like I missed something by not reading it.

Gilliganista!
03-05-2009, 03:45 AM
1.

'Lost' Cameo Leads to Revival of Obscure Book

by Jim Ruland

Day to Day, May 24, 2006

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5427906

2.

You Must Read This
by Chris Lehmann

The Funniest, and Scariest, Book Ever Written

I have never read anything of its kind to surpass [this book]. It inspired me in several stories to imaginative courage, such as I possess.


NPR.org, August 22, 2006

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5684946

alenseday
04-05-2009, 02:57 PM
do not understand

jimbizzle
09-14-2009, 06:04 PM
Brilliant book. I found out about it after doing some good old Lost research, I decided to read it and take everything for what it was and not read it in the mind frame of comparing every little thing to Lost.

The book on its own, I found to be a very quaint read. The main plot felt slightly pointless yet I was hooked on finding out more. Interesting stuff, the policeman were completely crazy.
It's only in hindsight that I can see all the Lost references. And the more that I think about it, the more I like the ending :p

Daniel1302
09-16-2009, 04:59 PM
Flann O'Brien's a pretty excellent writer all around. Try to track down a copy of The Dalkey Archive - it's sort of an earlier draft of The Third Policeman, but radically different and possibly more insane.

ste@?
09-19-2009, 09:59 AM
Brilliant book. I found out about it after doing some good old Lost research, I decided to read it and take everything for what it was and not read it in the mind frame of comparing every little thing to Lost.

The book on its own, I found to be a very quaint read. The main plot felt slightly pointless yet I was hooked on finding out more. Interesting stuff, the policeman were completely crazy.
It's only in hindsight that I can see all the Lost references. And the more that I think about it, the more I like the ending :p

Loop, dude, loop.

"Joe had been explaining things in the meantime. He said it was again the beginning of the unfinished, the re-discovery of the familiar, the re-experience of the already suffered, the fresh forgetting of the unremembered. Hell goes round and round. In shape it is circular and by nature it is interminable, repetitive and very nearly unbearable"

Bentham Lafleur
10-06-2009, 07:50 AM
Haven't cracked the surface on this sucker yet, I've only read the first few chapters. One thing I've noticed early on is how the relationship between John Divney & The Narrator in many ways, is alot like Kelvin and Desmond's. Really enjoying it so far, though. Wish I had the time to really power through it.

MrsFaraday
12-01-2009, 05:30 AM
i read it! i found it to be a great read once i got into. the whole book just kind of had an eerie vibe to it, similar to the one i get from Lost. i hope Lost does not end the way the book does though....

haiddengould
03-02-2010, 12:44 AM
I really enjoyed this book. The way he kept trying to explain the thing getting to ridculously small proportions was hilarious. Also the whole story I never realized the narrator was unnamed.

orsonkidd
03-02-2010, 04:04 AM
Flann O'Brien's a pretty excellent writer all around. Try to track down a copy of The Dalkey Archive - it's sort of an earlier draft of The Third Policeman, but radically different and possibly more insane.

^This.

I just read "At swim two birds" and it was very good.The Third Policeman is better, but he is a good writer.

jeffdolan
05-25-2010, 10:33 AM
I hope the makers of LOST give kudos to the Third Policeman, and that O'Brien get's the worldwide post humous recognition he truly deserves, as one of Ireland's greatest writers.

For the last four years, I was telling people that the secret of LOST i.e ;purgatory, was given away in O'Brien's books. Needless to say ,I wasNEVER callous enough that I actually told people the actual ending, just that if they're curious enough, they should read the book, a gem in itself.

hugoisking
05-25-2010, 05:02 PM
i am with you on this all the way. i love flann o brien and this book and always thought that abrhams had read it. do you watch fringe? if not you would like it. its like a more concise and scientific version. i didnt think that 3rd policeman though was entirely religiously driven though?

have you read at swimm two birds?

spagett
05-25-2010, 05:37 PM
Flann O'Brien's a pretty excellent writer all around. Try to track down a copy of The Dalkey Archive - it's sort of an earlier draft of The Third Policeman, but radically different and possibly more insane.

I'm pretty sure the Dalkey Archive came later and was an attempt to recycle some of the funny passages from The Third Policeman, as O'Brien was sadly unable to get The Third Policeman published. I really enjoyed both books.

There is only a very superficial connection to LOST. Its actually kind of insulting to O'Brien, since he is much smarter and funnier than anybody writing for LOST.

richmondpinch
05-25-2010, 10:02 PM
Not very enthusiastic, to put it mildly, about how "Lost" ended. But I'll forever doff my cap to the show for prompting me to read this book.