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You are here: Home » Authors » Individual » Flann O'Brien ( = this page)
This is a brief discussion of Flann O'Brien and, of course, of some speculative-fiction books by O’Brien.
This discussion and list does not necessarily include every book by O’Brien: it includes only those books that I both know and like. Just as with the author list itself, omission of a particular item may mean I didn’t think highly enough of the omitted item, or it may simply mean that I have not yet sufficient familiarity with it. (In a very few cases, I have listed some books merely on the strength of my opinion of the author: all such books are clearly marked below, as throughout these lists, with a hash mark (#) before the title so you know what’s what.)
I don’t pretend that this discussion is a deep analysis. My intent is no more than to give you a rough idea of what kinds of tales O’Brien tells, how those tales are usually told, and what makes them and O’Brien worthy; in sum, to help you rank Flann O'Brien (and the works by O’Brien listed here) on your personal literary “to do” list.
This page has not been updated in a long while; consequently, external links (if any) may lead to dead or moribund pages. I am now cleaning up these pages as fast as I can, but I am one man and it may take me a while to get to every page needing link checking (or even the “Other Resources” section added). Sorry. Please be patient.
A Few Words About Flann O'Brien
Regrettably, I have not yet had an opportunity to write an essay on this author, but the "Other Resources" section below will lead you to some information about the "Notable Books" listed
farther down this page.
Return to the page top. ↑
Other Flann O'Brien Resources
("Flann O'Brien" was a pen name used by Brian O'Nolan, who also wrote extensively as "Myles Na Gopaleen".)
Flann O'Brien Resources on the Web
Considering that for decades Flann O'Brien was a more or less "lost" author, there is now--gratifyingly, if all of a sudden--an explosion of material about him and his oeuvre on the web,
so much so that it's easiest to present it in tabular form. I have tried in this list to stick to pages that say at least something meaningful about thr works, but even so, well, just look
at it. Here those pages are, in more or less random order--but be aware that most have spoilers (read the books, then read these analyses):
"Flann O'Brien: A Postmodernist When It Was Neither Profitable Nor
Popular" at the Scriptorium
Cracks" by John Updike, at The New Yorker
"Why Flann O'Brien Is So Funny" at
We Laughed, We Cried: Flann O'Brien's triumph at the Boston
"The Last Laugh" at the Atlantic
"Estopped by Grand Playsaunce: Flann O'Brien's Post-colonial Lore"
(a PDF file), by Joseph Brooker [Journal of Law and Society 31 (1), pp. 15-37]
"The 'Lost' world
of Flann O'Brien" at The Independent
"The Complete--and Surprising--Flann O'Brien" at First
Flann O'Brien at Guardian Books
"Flann O'Brien: Comic Genius" at
"Brian O'Nolan / Flann O'Brien / Myles: Playing / Spoiling"
Flann O'Brien: The Complete Novels
reviewed by Thomas de Pietro for Barnes & Noble
O'Brien at eNotes
O'Brien: The Complete Novels is a treasure for fans of Gaelic wit" in the Dallas Morning News
"O Sons O'Joyce, ReJoyce: The Novels of Flann O'Brien"
by Michael O'Helke at Stop Smiling
"Genius under many guises"
at The Spectator
"The Funniest, and Scariest, Book Ever Written" at
At Swim-Two-Birds discussed at The Sheila
The Third Policeman reviewed at
The Dalkey Archive reviewed at RTÉ
The Third Policeman reviewed at Special
"Men Without Whereness: Spectres and Haunting in Flann O'Brien's The Dalkey Archive", doctoral thesis (Utrecht University), Alana
The Third Policeman reviewed at SFF
"Ireland: Flann O'Brien"
from The Sunday Times
Flann O'Brien: A Biographical Introduction at Necessary
a succinct biography and
bibliography at the online Princess Grace Irish Library (of Monaco)
the no-bicycle page (a page mostly of links to other interesting Brian O'Nolan
Believe it or not, there's even more; Google Is Your Friend.
Flann O'Brien Resources in Print
There are some books, including these:
No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O'Brien, by Anthony Cronin
Flann O'Brien, by Joseph Brooker
Reading Games: An Aesthetics of Play in Flann O'Brien, Samuel Beckett, and Georges Perec, by Kimberly Bohman-Kalaja
Notable Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books by Flann O'Brien ***
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