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During the five years of their adulterous affair, Finn Fitzgerald and Elin Marstrander spend only 47 days and nights together. At each of their meetings — in Spain or London, or on the tiny island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, which serves as their last refuge — they try to conjure a reality that will correspond to that of the passionate letters they exchange while apart. Elin, a Danish poet, and Fitz, an Irish novelist, send each other beautiful, loving words, as well as evocative jabs of cruelty, often in the same letter. In the whirling world of their writing they attempt to enjoy their love in the calm they can’t find in their daily lives. But as reality — their lovers and their children; their failures and regrets — creeps in, their relationship inevitably crumbles: “The dream ends.”
In The Age of Wire and String, hailed by Robert Coover as “the most audacious literary debut in decades,” Ben Marcus welds together a new reality from the scrapheap of the past. Dogs, birds, horses, automobiles, and the weather are some of the recycled elements in Marcus’s first collection — part fiction, part handbook — as familiar objects take on markedly unfamiliar meanings. Gradually, this makeshift world, in its defiance of the laws of physics and language, finds a foundation in its own implausibility, as Marcus produces new feelings and sensations — both comic and disturbing — in the definitive guide to an unpredictable yet exhilarating plane of existence.
The Third Policeman is Flann O’Brien’s brilliantly dark comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence. Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and brutal murder, the novel follows him and his adventures in a two-dimensional police station where, through the theories of the scientist/philosopher de Selby, he is introduced to “Atomic Theory” and its relation to bicycles, the existence of eternity (which turns out to be just down the road), and de Selby’s view that the earth is not round but “sausage-shaped.” With the help of his newly found soul named “Joe,” he grapples with the riddles and contradictions that three eccentric policeman present to him.The last of O’Brien’s novels to be published, The Third Policeman joins O’Brien’s other fiction ( At Swim-Two-Birds, The Poor Mouth, The Hard Life, The Best of Myles, and The Dalkey Archive) to ensure his place, along with James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as one of Ireland’s great comic geniuses.