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The Ginger Man Paperback – July 13, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

It is one of the books which reveals their quality from the first line. On every page there is that immediacy all good writing has. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Lusty, violent, wildly funny . . . The Ginger Man is the picaresque novel to stop them all." -- Dorothy Parker

"It is one of the books that reveal their quality from the first line. On every page there is that immediacy all good writing has." -- V. S. Naipaul

"Nasty and lyrical, a curse that sounds suspiciously like a prayer, this outlandish hybrid of Irish-American letters is still armed and dangerous after thirty years. Sebastian Dangerfield, the lecherous, treacherous, larcenous, and thoroughly charming Ginger Man, appears to be immortal as well as immoral." -- Jay McInerney
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802144667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802144669
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
CAUTION: This book is not for everyone (ie--if you expect your reading to provide a strong moral and ethical paradigm, might as well skip this book). If, however, you can enjoy a book about a boozing expatriot in Ireland who disregards all responsibilities (including his family) and owes money to everyone he has come into contact with, then read on. This is not to say that Donleavy necessarily endorses a life of drinking and whoring, he is merely writing about it (more drinking than whoring). Fans of literature, this book cannot be ignored. Donleavy breaks every rule in the book with his poetic sensibilites. He writes with a flourish and a sense of imagery that is both uncommon and incredible. I cannot say that I have much regard for the modern library or their lists, but I can see why they included this book in their "Top 100 Books of the 20th Century in the English Language." This is a book I will not easily forget.
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Format: Paperback
JPD launched a storied literary career with a masterpiece in The Ginger Man. Sebastian, which means "venerable," is a man perpetually on the brink of utter madness brought largely upon himself. He is a Trinity College Dublin man whose condition is given to "staving off starvation" and whose only option when things always get worse is to "cheer-up or die." When you consider that JPD was first a painter, it's understandable that his writing style is pointillistic. The syntax like Dangerfield is non-traditional presented like life itself in fragments of which to make sense. His little lines of stacked type at the end of each chapter are works of art in themselves: "All the way/From the land/Of Kerry/Is a man/From the dead/Gone merry./ This man/Stood in the street/ And stamped his feet/ And no one heard him." Here the work winds from prose to poetry to create an endearing human quality and even tenderness that enables us to forgive the ginger man for his outrageousness. What would he and his poor as Pozzo crones do with a lot of money? Drink at every pub from College Green to Kerry over the course of a year and then "I'll arrive on Dingle Peninsula walk out on the end of Slea Head, beat, wet and penniless. I'll sit there and weep into the sea." Very Dylan Thomas. A touch Kafkaesque. Joycean. JPD's Ginger Man is worthy of a higher position on Random House's "Best Novels of the 20th Century." His body of work, including "Darcy Dancer," "Balthazar B," "The Singluar Man," "The Onion Eaters," "Wrong Info at Princeton" and "Samuel S." is astonishing in its lyric virtuosity, power and originality. When will the mavens of Hollywood treat us to tales by JPD that shimmer and dance upon the silverscreen? And when will the good people in Stockholm see the light on JPD's vast, rich, enduring, literary legacy?
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Format: Paperback
Quite simply, one of the five funniest books of all time, I rate this alongside Confederacy of Dunces, Catch-22, Bombardiers, and Vonnegut's best work. It tells the story of an usually drunken American, Sebastian Dangerfield, studying at Trinity College, Dublin, and his trials and tribulations of him, his wife and friends, colleagues, and fellow drinkers. Written in 1965 and hailed as "A triumph of comic writing..." by The New Yorker it is crying-out-loud funny. The scene where Sebastian tries to buy condoms in 1960s Ireland is alone worth the price of the book. Friends raved about this for years, and I'm still kicking myself for waiting this long to read it. The best story I've ever seen about contemporary man trying to find pleasure in life without working in any sense of the word. I am more apt to give comedies a one, but this is definitely a ten
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Format: Paperback
The Ginger Man is funny--in fact hilaious at times, it is well written, and it moves relatively quickly. Those are all excellent qualities that I love in a book, but sadly this story also just never really moves. The characters aren't particularly engaging, even Sebastian Dangerfield who is the focus of all the action in the story. He is certainly infuriating as a lazy, abusive, self centered, morally corrupt person, which is not a problem for me since some of the best chracters in fiction share these qualities, but I don't care about his flaws or the people who he manipulates and disregards throughout the book. The book is not particularly memorable and never made me stop and think or particularly care what it was saying, so as I see it the book fails in the end. Many critics and well respected authors love this book, who I assume appreciate its unique (for the 1950's at least) free-flowing style and graphic depictions of various types of debauchery, but as a casual reader it was no better than average.
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Format: Paperback
Donleavy breaks every rule of writing and comes up with masterpieces; been doing it for fifty years. In the "Ginger Man," one of his best, he dissects the mind and spirit of a rogue, dragging the reader in and out of Irish saloons, through troubled affairs,into hot water and nasty entanglements, and, despite the decadence of Dangerfield, you enjoy the scamp's company.

It's the best trip you'll ever take to Ireland.
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Format: Paperback
Donleavy is indeed the most obvious progeny of the Great Joyce. The Ginger Man fits well alongside Kingsley Amis's hilarious "Lucky Jim" and other midcentury farces. Although Donleavy is a native New Yorker, his descriptions of and ear for Ireland are poetic and endearing, despite the scurillous nature of Sebastian (not Rodney) Dangerfield. To those reviewers who have to love and/or picture themselves as the protagonist of each book they read, I extend my pity for the self-deprivation they surroud themselves with, not allowing enjoyment of truly great writing for fear of having someone think they approve of drunken wife-beating rotters. The Ginger Man is a beatifully crafted work of social commentary, as well as being able to elicit belly laughs while being read on a city bus. Of course you're much more likely to sympathize with Sebastian's misanthropy if you are riding said bus with your tackle exposed.
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