Books: A Life Spent Making Merry

A FLANN O'BRIEN READER, edited by Stephen Jones; Viking/ Richard Seaver; 447 pages; $15

Once there were these three Irishmen. Brian O'Nolan joined the civil service as a young fellow and retired 18 years later with a small pension and a sharp tongue. Before he was 30, Flann O'Brien had published a novel (At Swim-Two-Birds) that won praise from no less a boyo than Jimmy Joyce. Myles na Gopaleen took up writing the odd play now and then but spent close to 25 years doing funny pieces for the newspapers. Now here's a strange...

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