J.P Donleavy: An Author and His Image
By: J.P. Donleavy
Publication Date: October 2011
J.P Donleavy has been writing now for forty-five years and, as he admits, an answer to the question why is ‘ difficult to dig out of a long past’. Yet over these pages the author’s query is largely answered for him: he has written so much for so long because he writes so very well. From the banks of the Seine to the streets of the Bronx, from the stables of the Dublin Horse Show to cocktails at Claridge’s, we are transported by these collected short pieces into the singular and spirited world of J. P. Donleavy. Bringing an uncommonly objective yet affectionate eye to his writings on his own birthplace, America, balancing unabashed adoration with good-humoured bewilderment in his depiction of his heart’s home, Ireland, the author presents us with a fresh, engaging vista that could only be his own. Whether reviewing a book on sexual exercises for women or paying homage to Yeats, the impress is unmistakably Donleavy’s.
The initial publication of these pieces in various newspapers and journals around the world gave the author particular pleasure because he knew that he would reach people who were not normally book readers. However, he admits that the fate of most periodicals and newspapers is to be used to ‘wrap fish, keep vagrants warm and help light fires’. Books, on the other hand, ‘preserve their pages better between covers’, and with their publication here he hopes that ‘these pieces separately written over these many years can now keep each other company’. An Author and His Image by J.P Donleavy offers a comprehensive overview of one of the most original and incisive voices of the last half-century.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J.P. ‘Mike’ Donleavy (1926–2017) wrote more than twenty books after The Ginger Man, including The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B (1968), A Fairy Tale of New York (1973), The Onion Eaters (1971) and Schultz (1979) (all available as eBooks from Lilliput), along with several works of non-fiction such as The Unexpurgated Code: A Complete Manual of Survival and Manners (1975). He lived along the shores of Lough Owel near Mullingar in County Westmeath. Watch J.P. Donleavy win the An Post Lifetime Achievement Award 2015.
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