Books: Inner Circles

THE THIRD POLICEMAN by Flann O'Brien. 200 pages. Walker. $4.95.

Flann O'Brien was an eccentric Irish man caught up in the confusion of three identities. Under his real name, Brian O'Nolan, he was an Irish civil servant. As Myles na gCopaleen, he was a columnist for the Irish Times and wrote the contemporary Gaelic classic An Beal Bocht (The Poor Mouth). But it was as the pseudonymous Flann O'Brien, the author of At Swim-Two-Birds (1939), that he was best known.

That brilliant comic curio—a novel about a student who is writing a novel —attracted praise from the likes of James Joyce and...

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