Sunny's bookshelf
Sunny's bookshelf photo by Judy Solomon

Online book reviews since 2011, the very best in reviewing – connecting good readers with equally good writers

The Ginger Man

Sign up to receive our latest reviews by email

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.

Add your thoughts and comments...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this Review

Related Reviews

Facing The Mountain

Facing The Mountain

    Daniel James Brown’s Facing the Mountain, A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II, is the rich telling of the plight faced

Read More »
The Honey Jar

The Honey Jar

The Honey Jar, An Armenian’s Escape to Freedom, is Joan Schoettler’s captivating tale of a young boy’s 1920, escape from his war-torn home in Armenia.

Read More »
Sisters in Arms

Sisters in Arms

  Sisters in Arms – Kaia Alderson introduces a subset of a distinct group of WWII women deployed overseas during the war. Welcome to the

Read More »

About the Reviewer

Sign up for reviews by email

You’ll get email updates from Bookin’ with Sunny when we add a new review or blog post, and we never share your email with anyone else.

Shopping in-store Fun!

Support your local community’s economic growth by shopping for books at your independent bookstore in person, online at their website, or by phone.