The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy

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First published in Paris in 1955, and originally banned in the United States, J. P. Donleavy’s first novel is now recognized the world over as a masterpiece and a modern classic of the highest order. Set in Ireland just after World War II, The Ginger Man is J. P. Donleavy’s wildly funny, picaresque classic novel of the misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield, a young American ne’er-do-well studying at Trinity College in Dublin. He barely has time for his studies and avoids bill collectors, makes love to almost anything in a skirt, and tries to survive without having to descend into the bottomless pit of steady work. Dangerfield’s appetite for women, liquor, and general roguishness is insatiable—and he satisfies it with endless charm.

About J. P. Donleavy

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James Patrick Donleavy, 1926 - James (aka, Mike) Donleavy was born in New York on April 23, 1926 to Irish immigrants. He served in the Navy during WWII and afterwards, attended Trinity College in Dublin. He began as a painter to gain entry into the London gallery scene but he was told that he would have to be famous to have his work shown, which he decided to do, but as a writer. Donleavy's first novel was "The Ginger Man," which took years to complete and even more to get published because of the explicit sex for that time. It was finally published by Maurice Girodias, who also published a series of pornographic fiction called the Traveler's Companion Series. Donleavy tried to save his credibility as an author by trying to arrange for the book to be published in the UK and agreeing to alter the work to avert censorship. Donleavy is also an accomplished playwright as well as the scriptwriter, narrator and lead of the film/video J.P. Donleavy's Ireland. Donleavy's received several awards which include Most Promising Playwright Award, 1960, for Fairy Tales of New York; Brandeis Creative Arts Award, 1961&62, for the plays The Ginger Man and Fairy Tales of New York; Citation from National Institute & American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1975; Worldfest Houston Gold Award, 1992, for the film J.P. Donleavy's Ireland and the Cine Golden Eagle Award, 1993, for writer and narrator of the film J.P. Donleavy's Ireland. He was listed in the Modern Library's Best 100 Novels of the Century for "The Ginger Man," which also was ranked #7 in Best-selling Books of All Time in Ireland.
Published July 1, 2010 by Grove Press. 348 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

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Written by an American who has lived in London for several years, this is of a piece with the current crop of young men who find an aesthetic in uglinces, who, in concentrating on one hapless individual, would bring down the importance of mass man, and whose murky, squalid dossiers have their int...

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In our own observance, we become the enablers of Dangerfield's unconscionable acts, finding ourselves, (surprisingly), unwilling to give him his deserved punishment, forgiving him his transgressions as swiftly as his Mary does.

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Landon Prisbrey 18 Jun 2013

Rated the book as 4.5 out of 5