eBook Only

The Onion Eaters

eBook Only

By: J.P. Donleavy

Publication Date: February 15, 2012

(5 customer reviews)

The Onion Eaters by J.P. Donleavy

On a cold day Clayton Claw Cleaver Clementine sets off westwards to take up residence in the vast haunted edifice of Charnel Castle. Clementine, a polite unkown unsung product of the new world and recently recovered by a miraculous cure from a long decline, alights at an empty crossroads. Standing lonely on its windswept hillside the great turrets and battlements rear in the sky …

The Onion Eaters is amongst Donleavy’s best work.

‘This is simply incredible Donleavy pushing his comedic gifts to the edges of the surreal hilarity heaped upon hilarity until the reader reels exhausted and delirious but happy. This impossibly funny novel is powerful unrelenting remedy against the madness of society and the world. I rarely end a book wanting to instantly return to the beginning but this is one time I did.’ Customer review

‘Clementine/Donleavy carries on a “train of consciousness” poetic ramble seldom completing a sentence while cataloguing and examining the sensory overload this occasions as many odd threads make a most satisfying tapestry of decadence and dark comedy. I agree with others that this may his best work.’ Customer review

The Onion Eaters is a rich and colourful extravaganza fraught with wicked acrimony and picturesque rancour.’ Customer review

‘Bawdy, clever and pretty damn funny.’ 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.

Watch J.P. Donleavy win the An Post Lifetime Achievement Award 2015.

Also available as an ebook

5 reviews for The Onion Eaters

  1. Lilliput Press

    “I think J P Donleavy is one of the most underrated authers around and this is one of his funniest novels ever. It is narrated with a lyrical, rhythmic style that carries the story forward through a series of increasingly bizzarre events.
    Although Donleavy is primarily noted for his novel ‘The Ginger Man’ I would rate this story much higher although not quite as good as ‘The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B'” BILLY

  2. Lilliput Press

    “Hilarious, this adventure in rural Ireland moves along at a great gallop. Certainly shows another side of country living, its a bawdy tale full of fantastic characters. Its the first Donleavy book I’ve read and I’m looking forward to indulging myself in more.” MARK GREVILLE

  3. Lilliput Press

    “I searched for this book for years, pre google search, through many shelves in dusty old book stores(how times have changed) It was out of print. I eventually found it and was very pleased at the result. That was 20 years ago. So happy when I saw this was available on Amazon. Fantastic read. Very rhythmic. Funny as only Donleavy can be!
    I would recommend this novel to ANYONE.” STEVE

  4. Lilliput Press

    “The Onion Eaters is one of those books that I delight to buy and give to people. Over the years I have given away my copy to friends at least ten times, and I read it again myself at least twice a year. Donleavy was a wonderful writer and I believe that The Onion Eaters is far superior to the more famous Ginger Man although both – and his many other works – are always rewarding! This is a riotous romp through a wonderful Ireland of the imagination that I love dearly!!” V.C FREEDMAN

  5. Lilliput Press

    “I read this book about twenty years ago and I return to it most years. Very much like a lighter read than Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast Trilogy (and none the worse for it), yet just as rich and chaotic, it is a wonderful romp full of absurd, richly-drawn characters, which drip apparently with ease from Donleavy’s imagination and experiences (though heaven-knows where he would have quite met them!); I would love to meet Erconwald in real life.

    There’s a sense of the loneliness of the writer in his writing, but not to the somewhat self-indulgent degree as in some of his other novels; yet it is this very sensitiveness of the writer’s psyche that also creates page after page of fresh and vivid narration redolent of an Ireland beautiful and lonely. An important book for me and a preferred one over Donleavy’s other books, though book sales suggest I’m in a minority! Curiously for the realisation of such rich characters, it’s nature in her wild, lonely, natural and powerful beauty that provides the balance to gothic zaniness with poetic descriptions of nature that for me jump out of the page. Clearly, Donleavy intimately knew and was affected by the landscape he was writing about.” NDT

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Weight 0.00 kg
Publication Date

February 15, 2012


eBook, 290 pages