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New Left Review I/8, March-April 1961


Norman Fruchter

Where Is the Ginger Man?

from The Ginger Man to Fairy Tales of New York, J. P. Donleavy has traced a wily, subterranean trail from joy to ambivalence, from sensual and sensuous pleasure to partial withdrawal, from anarchy to compromise. Donleavy’s first book, published in 1958, announced a rare, rich, disciplined perception, a strict yet supple prose style, fluid with echoes of Yeats, Marvell, Donne, even Chaucer. Donleavy chose the hardest of all narrative forms—the first person present, and forged as his narrative persona perhaps the only recent fictional hero we can fully accept, Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield, the ginger man.

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