Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Top ten absurd classics

Michael Foley was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, but since 1972 he has lived in London, working as a Lecturer in Information Technology. He has published four novels, four collections of poetry and a collection of translations from French poetry, which have earned impressive reviews from the Guardian, New Statesman and New York Times. The Age of Absurdity is his first non-fiction book.

For the Guardian, he named a top ten list of books that best express the absurdity of the human condition. One title on the list:
The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien

This is another vision of life as absurd repetition – but eerie, nightmarish, totally black. In the key scene Sergeant Pluck and Policeman MacCruiskeen take the narrator on a visit to eternity (up an Irish country lane and deep underground) and tell him he can order whatever he wants. After some thought the narrator requests, and is given, 50 cubes of gold, a bottle of whiskey, precious stones to the value of £200,000, some bananas, a fountain pen and writing materials, a serge suit of blue with silk lining and a weapon capable of exterminating all adversaries. But as he is about to enter the lift on the way out he is informed that he must exit with the same weight as he came in. Obliged to abandon his treasures, he weeps silent bitter tears – excruciatingly funny and also strangely moving.
Read about another book on the list.

Flann O'Brien is on Max McGuinness' list of four of the greatest alternative Irish writers.

--Marshal Zeringue