Friday, 12 November 2010


I have, with superhuman restraint and forbearance, mentioned a mere 9 or 10 dozen times on this blog and other social networking outlets that Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman is simply the best novel ever written. The thought has often occurred to me that this strange and wonderful story would make an excellent film, but that it would be difficult to realise on celluloid (or even, nowadays, in a computer's memory).

Imagine then, dear reader, my surprise on learning that Brendan Gleeson is working on a film adaptation of O'Brien's even stranger and apparently more unfilmable opus, At Swim Two Birds. This novel mingles various mythological charcters (including the giant Finn Mac Cool and Mad King Sweeney - who is transformed into a bird - and the Pooka MacPhellimey, "a member of the devil class" (who has a fairy living in his pocket)) with ones from everyday life. Among the latter is a student, who writes a book in which a man writing a book is imprisoned, tried and tortured by his own characters, who resent his treatment of him.

All this is used to comment on the relationship between fiction and reality, knowledge, learning and language, and to deliver some darned good jokes.

A rom-com it ain't, and I can't wait to see the results.


1 comment:

Desperate Reader said...

I've always passed these books over - feel I might need to go and have a proper look now this post being the final straw...