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Lost agus The Third Policeman: Suíomh Táirgí nó “Scavenger Hunt” Liteartha? Posted by on Sep 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

By now, some of you may have checked out The Third PolicemanAr léigh tú é?  Ar thaitin sé leat? (Freagraí samplacha thíos). 

It’s interesting to consider the role of this úrscéal and the many other oibreacha liteartha mentioned in the series Lost.  Would it be considered “suíomh tairgí” (product placement)?  Not really, is dócha, since there’s nothing to suggest that anything was prearranged with na foilsitheoirí, let alone le Flann O’Brien, an t-údar, since he died in 1966.

But if it wasn’t suíomh tairgí done d’aonturas, it certainly had a similar effect.  Sales peaked, even before viewers could actually see an t-eipeasód in which The Third Policeman appeared (5 Deireadh Fómhair, 2005, i S.A.M.), due to leaks in the media (d’aonturas?).  If I had had the réamhamharc to think of it at the time, I would have started checking the book’s online sales ranks ar an toirt. 

Meanwhile, all I can do is check the current rankings before I publish this blog and wonder if 8000 léitheoirí an bhlag seo on Facebook would make much difference in the staitisticí, even if everyone bought a copy, and that specifically from the vendors I’m now tracking (Amazon and Barnes & Noble).  Of course, this isn’t an exact science, at least not in my limited practice.  Many of you may have already read the book, or might read it from the library, in which case the sales ranks would show no activity.  But still, the increase in sales of the The Third Policeman measured a total of about 10,000 to 15,000, depending on how you count the spike and how long it’s considered to have lasted.  And there are almost 8000 of us on this site.  Maybe I should even buy a cóip nua, for good measure.  Food for thought, pé scéal é

Having said all that, a few more pointers about the book might be useful.  Apparently the introduction to the latest edition is full of spoilers, so I wouldn’t read that before reading an téacs é féin.  It’s not in my 1990s edition, so I have to admit, níl an réamhrá sin léite agam fós

Another important feature of this book is that it is a foilseachán iarbháis, originally written in 1940 and rejected by all the publishers O’Brien sent it to during his lifetime.  If that is taken into consideration, then it greatly predates some of the other speculative, fantasy, or science-fiction literary works mentioned or alluded to in the series, like A Wrinkle in Time (1962) and Watership Down (1972).  Some of the Lost works, of course, like the Dickens, are much earlier. 

A third point about The Third Policeman is that opinions are highly polarized about the book.  Is breá le cuid mhór é ach is fuath le cuid eile é.  One léirmheas custaiméara on said the writer wanted his money back from léiritheoirí Lost (not from Amazon), because he felt the TV show ahd induced him to buy a book he didn’t really like.  A variation of the infamous “cosaint Twinkie”? Takes all kinds!

How long did the lucht féachana have to actually digest the title of the book that provides such an underpinning to the story.  Soicind amháin.  Pretty much on the nose, according to all I’ve read. 

And that makes for an interesting contrast between gnáthshuíomh tairgí (rudaí mar Coca-Cola Reese’s Pieces), a second category that I’ll call “suíomh tairgí liteartha” (for want of a pre-existing temr), and fógraíocht as such.  The audience had one second to catch the title, The Third Policeman.  Most ads last for cúig shoicind déag or tríocha soicind.  If the writers of a TV show incorporate literary referecnes, and actual copies of the books, I’d say we’re looking more at réamhthagairtí liteartha than at product placement.  It just becomes more visceral when we actually see the product than when the tagairtí are intended for the printed page (like Mrs. Norris, the cat, in the Harry Potter series, created long before J. K. Rowling, a Jane Austen fan, dreamed that the books would be so succesful and end up being filmed).

So perhaps we should see the book’s role in the series more as part of a literary scavenger hunt.  Do bharúil?  Why didn’t I translate “scavenger hunt,” you might ask?  I thought about it, but I don’t really see much precedent for combining the Irish words for scavenging (glanadh amach or scroblachóireacht) with “hunt,” for which there are several words (tóraíocht, fiach, seilg, srl.).  It could make an impressive mouthful, though, to say “tóraíocht scroblachóireachta”!  That final “-a” is added because we have an ainmfhocal cáilíochta, which means it will be sa tuiseal ginideach.  Got it?    

Have I tempted you to read the book yet?  Tá súil agam, since it’s one of my favorites.  And thinking about that October 5 date gives me one more reason to write about the topic again soon — the five-year anniversary of one of the most effective literary product placements in TV history.  And it’s a great, if baffling, read whether or not you’re a leantóir Lost go smior

Freagraí: Ar léigh tú X?   Léigh / Níor léigh.  Ar thaitin X leat? Thaitin / Níor thaitin. 

Gluais: gnáth-, ordinary; go smior, to (the) marrow (like “dyed-in-the-wool”), iarbháis, posthumous; réamhamharc, foresight; réamhthagairt, anticipatory allusion

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