Lost & The Third Policeman

The Book Standard asks if a reference to Flann O’Brien’s great classic The Third Policeman on the television show Lost has had any sales impact. Aside from confusing O’Brien’s book with an O’Brien title I wasn’t aware of (The Last Policeman? Man, I wish that wasn’t a typo.), it’s revealed that Dalkey Archive ordered an extra print run of 10,000. Lost writer Craig Wright has also gone on record, suggesting that the O’Brien book would be “invaluable to fans seeking to unravel the island’s mystery.” I find this claim skeptical, given writer David Fury‘s remarks in Rolling Stone a few weeks ago, where he suggested that the show’s producers were making the story up as they went along, concluding, “It’s a brilliant trick to make us look smart.”

Subterfuge or no, at the time of composing this post, The Third Policeman has an Amazon rank of #1,518. And the Book Standard reports that Dalkey has shipped 15,000 more copies to meet increasing demand. That’s pretty remarkable for a casual reference in a hit television show. Of course, one wonders if these sales would have happened had Craig Wright not insinuated a tie-in. But if it gets people reading Flann O’Brien, perhaps they’ll devote their energies to discussing bicycle metaphors rather than deconstructing a highly addictive show that might be less profound and symbolic than we’ve been lead to believe.


  1. Ed,

    Heard one of the exec. producers on a local morning radio show a few weeks back, right after the Fury RS comments.

    The EP stated that only 3 people, Abrams, himself and another, truly knew the full mythology/storyline and that they give the writing staff bits and pieces at a time, and the actors get even less.

    He thought that maybe the fact that Fury was not invited back to play along with the other writers this year may have been partially to blame for his comments.


  2. From Bookscan, I give you the following data (it’s averaging 15-30 units a week, otherwise)

    10/23/05 WK End 583

    10/16/05 WK End 858

    10/09/05 WK End 374

    10/02/05 WK End181

    So Chad’s reprint seems consistent with consumer demand, though I wouldn’t do another reprint quite yet

  3. More anecdotal evidence – we have one copy in system and it went from having a last circ date of years ago to having a small list of holds after the episode aired. It still has 4 holds on it right now.

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