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Last Updated: Friday, 24 February 2006, 12:04 GMT
Lost revives Irish novel interest
Matthew Fox (r) stars as Jack in Lost
A surreal Irish novel which fleetingly appeared in an episode of hit drama Lost has seen an upsurge in sales.

The Third Policeman was published in 1967, a year after the author Flann O'Brien died.

More than 15,000 copies were sold in the three weeks following the Lost episode airing in the US - equalling sales of the previous six years.

Lost scriptwriter Craig Wright said the book was chosen "very specifically for a reason".

The Third Policeman is a bizarre, comic novel which details a murder mystery.

The book featured for just a second in an episode of the second series of Lost, which has just been screened in Ireland and is still showing in the US but has yet to be shown in the UK.

Triple sales

The ABC show follows a group of plane crash survivors who land on an island which is inhabited by strange creatures as well as other mystery people.

O'Brien is the pseudonym of writer Brian O'Nolan, who also wrote under the name Myles na gCopaleen.

There has also been an increase in sales of O'Brien's other books, including The Hard Life and The Dalkey Archive, according to Chad Post, an associate director of the Center for Book Culture, which publishes O'Brien's works in the United States.

British publishers Harper Collins have also seen an increase in sales of the Third Policeman, despite the fact the Lost episode has not yet aired on Channel 4.

The episode is expected to trigger similar demand for the bizarre book across the Atlantic.

"It has tripled," said a spokeswoman, pointing out February sales had risen to 1,400 from 400 the previous month.

Harper Collins describes the book, which was originally rejected by publishers for being too fantastical, as "the story of a tender, brief, unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle and a chilling fable of unending guilt".

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