Monday, February 4, 2008
THE DALKEY ARCHIVE by Flann O'Brien
Flann O'Brien's The Dalkey Archive is far from literary greatness. To use one of the author's favorite words, it's a 'desultory' performance, formless, rambling, seemingly unplanned. It's a poorly edited, ill-conceived book that contains the suggestion of a truly great work only in the Joyce subplot. If the de Selby stuff had been jettisoned as so much melodramatic dead weight and O'Brien had expanded the 'resurrection of Joyce' idea into a full-length novel, then he might have had a genuine comic masterpiece on his hands. But as it is, the book is a fitfully funny mess.