of The History of The Ginger Man"
by Alice Joyce
Olympia Press' issuing of Donleavy's first and best-known work, The
Ginger Man, an interminable, 21-year legal battle ensued between
author and publisher. The distinctive cadences of Donleavy's prose enliven
this autobiographical account that meanders through the years leading
up to the appearance of his book in print and subsequent altercation between
From Dublin's Trinity College to a dismal row house in London's Fulham district, Donleavy recalls the settings of his struggles as a writer while supporting a young family. Accompanying him on numerous pub-crawling jaunts amid fisticuffs are the likes of Brendan Behan and a colorful cast of characters - many of whom were the basis for characters in The Ginger Man.
Other literati (Edna O' Brien, Muriel Spark, etc.) help animate the rambling narrative. Toward the end of the book, the pace picks up, engaging the reader more fully in the ups and downs of Donleavy's literary career in the making.