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The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman

By: J.P. Donleavy

Publication Date: 2013

(2 customer reviews)

The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman by J.P. Donleavy

The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman introduces us to the semi-orphaned, semi-legitimate heir to the crumbling Andromeda Park in the lush beauty of the Irish country-side. Darcy Dancer is raised by aging servants, tutored in basic skills by lovelorn Mr. Arlan, in hell-raising by incorrigible Foxy Slattery, and in love by his astutely aristocratic housekeeper, Miss von B. He grows up a complete gentleman only to be rudely cast out of his ancestral home, forced to seek his fortune among berserk fox hunters, destitute noblemen, lusty bohemian ladies, and shameless gamblers- to discover that his destiny, like his birth, rides on the 100-to-1 shot, and the sheer luck of a fast horse galloping against all odds to roistering victory! His future is disastrous, his present indecent, his past divine. He is Darcy Dancer.

‘Racy … Raunchy’Cleveland Plain Dealer

‘A 20th Century Barry Lyndon.’Chicago Tribune

‘This fielding unbuttoned by Henry Miller … wenching, boozing, brawling … A delightful romp.’Los Angeles Times

‘Irresistible … uproarious … scenes leap off the page.’The New Yorker

‘An Irish Tom Jones.’Booklist

‘A rollicking mix of adventure, hardship, and coincidence … vivid, extraordinary characters and their boisterous hijinks … amusing, bawdy … entertaining.’Houston Chronicle

‘JP Donleavy may well be the most hilarious writer on the planet. Darcy Dancer is a Bildungsroman about the coming of age of a young, educated member of the landed gentry in Ireland.’ Customer review


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.

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2 reviews for The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman

  1. Lilliput Press

    “His future is disastrous, his present indecent, his past divine. He is Darcy Dancer, scion of the gentry, youthful squire of Andromeda Park and rider of horses and housekeepers to hounds and to bed. His adventures as a vagabond across country and in bohemian Dublin in search of the lost glories of his youth are ferociously comic, hilariously sad.

    And what else did you expect from the great Donleavy? This is one of his finest novels, brim-full of zest and life.

    LISTENER: “Truly and uniquely life-affirming…an almost magically potent blend of the vulgar and the elegant, the grotesque and the lyrical, the archaic and the lewdly up-to-date.” ANGEL SILVER

  2. Lilliput Press

    “For my money, this novel is the best that JP Donleavy has written. The plot is beautifully paced, simultaneously simple and complex, and leads one by the hand through the adventures and mishaps of the main character, Darcy Dancer.

    The characters, main players, supporting cast or walk-on extras, are drawn as sharply and concisely as language permits and are totally believable. The backgrounds of rural Ireland and Dublin are very keenly observed by an eye at once that of a native and of a visitor. Mr Donleavy does not spare the Irish in his acute assessment of their ways (‘…this country where treachery and deceit were invented…’) but there is no malice in his writing. His use of language is exquisite and never sounds forced or over-worked. The narrative has as much detail as is needed and not a word more, but it is never thin or sparse.

    The dialogue has to be read (preferably aloud) to be believed. Having lived in the West of Ireland, the speech rhythm, the syntax and word order he uses are spot-on. There is an infectious charm about the whole book and an optimism that is lacking in some of his others. Yes, there is melancholy and some sharp pain but they balance the overall frivolity to perfection.

    If you read only one of Mr Donleavyy’s books, make it this one.” Z HERBERT

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