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The Ginger Man

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J.P. Donleavy’s The Ginger Man, the manic/sad antics of Sebastian Dangerfield, has never been out of print since its first publication in Paris, 1955. Now available in ebook and audiobook editions, it has been translated into 25 languages and has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. The Ginger Man is the chronicle of Sebastian’s struggles, a tale of the human spirit pitted against itself, that of an anti-hero bent upon getting what he deserves whether he deserves it or not. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch mine,” is his credo – poverty and loneliness his reward for acting out.

“Going to make money. Me. A sun out. With Jesus for birth control. This great iron fence around Trinity serves a purpose. World in resurrection. Yellow banners in the sky, all for me, Sebastian Bullion Dangerfield.”

Redeeming graces? It’s by Donleavy’s knack for getting into the head of Sebastian with a blend of memories, dreams and summations that we experience a fuller picture of what makes the character tick. Sebastian remembers…

“Ginny was afraid nothing. She was young and old. Her brown arms and legs swinging in wild optimism, beautiful in all their parts. She danced on the long hood of her crimson Cadillac, and watching her, I thought that God must be female. She leaped into my arms and knocked me to the ground and screamed into my mouth.”

And Sebastian reaps what he has sown when Donleavy writes…

“There was a man
Who made a boat
To sail away
And it sank.” 

The Ginger Man is a yin-yang slice of life, often outrageously funny, that proves a complex man cannot and will not be summed up with one simple definition, be it madman, cad or martyr.        – David Hartzheim

Other available books by Donleavy: The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B; The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms; A Singular Man; The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman; A Fairy Tale of New York; History of the Ginger Man; The Onion Eaters; The Unexpurgated Code; J. P. Donleavy’s Ireland; A Singular Country; Leila: Further in the Life and Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman; De Alfonce Tennis; Are You Listening Rabbi Low; Wrong Information is Being Given Out at Princeton; Schultz; The Saddest Summer of Samuel S.

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