‘Outrageous … electrically alive … Donleavy’s best book to date’ – The Washington Post
A Fairytale of New York is the novel whose title inspired the Pogues’ song, cited as ‘the best Christmas song ever’
‘A worthy successor to Sebastion Dangerfield of The Ginger Man … in a ribald elegy for New York’ – Kansas City Star
‘J.P. Donleavy’s new hero is an outrageous, obscene, unprincipled, irresistible and very poignant scoundrel who boozes and brawls his bawdy way through the disaster that is New York City … Donleavy deftly skewers everything from the American way of life and death to sex and city life, failure, success, poverty and wealth, loneliness and love … ribald and very funny entertainment … a fine roller-coaster ride all the way!’ – Philadelphia Bulletin
‘A grand triumph … a noble book from one of our best writers!’ – Cleveland Plain Dealer
A Fairy Tale of New York is a funny, lusty, and sad novel of comic genius. Returning from study abroad, Cornelius Christian enters customs with his luggage and his dead wife. His first encounter in New York is with a funeral director, with whom he reluctantly takes employment to pay for the burial expenses. In the course of his duties he meets the beautiful Fanny Sourpuss over her millionaire husband’s dead body. However, his over-enthusiastic handling of his first corpse lands him in court. Cornelius Christian wanders through the great sad cathedral that is New York, examining the human condition in all its comic pathos and lonely absurdity. Whether lingering in the Automat drinking from half empty coffee cups and stealing baked beans from the plates of customers who go looking for ketchup, or finding love on a street corner only to end up fighting his way out of a hooker’s fists, Cornelius Christian, heroic anti-hero, sings of life’s goodness in the wake of disaster.