Flann O'Brien, whose real name was Brian O'Nolan, also wrote under the pen name of Myles na Gopaleen. He was born in 1911 in County Tyrone. A resident of Dublin, he graduated from University College after a brilliant career as a student (editing a magazine called Blather) and joined the Civil Service, in which he eventually attained a senior position. He wrote throughout his life, which ended in Dublin on April 1, 1966. His other novels include The Dalkey Archive, The Third Policeman, The Hard Life, and The Poor Mouth, all available from Dalkey Archive Press. Also available are three volumes of his newspaper columns: The Best of Myles, Further Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn, and At War.
Critics have placed O'Brien in the upper echelon of Irish novelsts. This 1961 comic novel relates the lives of two orphaned Dublin brothers sent to live with their fiery uncle. ``The conversation is a delight,'' said LJ 's reviewer, ``it seems no Irishman can be dull when talking--and the atmosphere of a lower-middle-class family, with its cheerless, shabby, restricted way of life, is well done'' ( LJ 5/15/62). For all fiction collections.
O'Brien's 1961 novel is a sober but satirical tale about two Irish orphans growing up at the turn of the century amid the squalor of working-class Dublin. (Mar.)