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A Farewell To Arms : Hardcover – 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Paperview / The Independent; Banned Books Edition edition (2005)
  • ASIN: B00A2CI6PM
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,207,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Number 2 in the series , Banned Books . Published by the Independent.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By J. Newman on 12 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
I became aware of this book after recently reading a Hunter S. Thompson biography, wherein it describes how Hunter discovered the book in New York, and did his best to imitate Dangerfield's lifestyle. After reading the Ginger Man it became apparent that Hunter had at last found a hard act to follow in terms of womanising, alcohol abuse and empty promises.

Apparently the Ginger Man was turned down by something like 40 publishers before finding it's way to the mainly pornographic publishers Olympia Press in Paris. Despite turning out mostly smut, Olympia owner Maurice Girodias also published some early works by the likes of Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, Henry Miller and Jean Genet amongst other rising literary talents of the time.

I mention the publication as it's interesting to note that Donleavy entered into 20 plus years of litigation with the publishing house. He eventually won the case and subsequently owns Olympia Press.

But anyway, the book. It is, for better or worse, very real. The "hero" Sebastian Dangerfield is a reluctant family man and a reluctant student of law. He just doesn't care about the things which we assume he should care about. He is constantly in a state of scheming his way into the next free drink, or getting into the knickers of an easily led girl. He has no morals, nor does he feel that he should have. He is banking on an inherited wealth which will be his once his sick father dies.

The style of the book is modern for the time of it's writing. Donleavy uses both the first person narrative and the third person narrative to illustrate his main character.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By RS on 30 April 2006
Format: Paperback
Sebastian Dangerfield is in no way purported to be a model human being. Donleavy puts all of Sebastian's flaws out in the open: Sebastian is a vulgar, abusive, and irresponsible alcoholic. Sebastian is in no way the gallant, classic, and Victorian hero of the past. He is instead the rejection of all that was pure and virginal in previous works of literature. He is the product of Modernism.

Modernism as part of its very foundation sought to shock people. I think of Sebastian Dangerfield as a literary equivalent of the shock-rocker Marilyn Manson. Will reading how Sebastian hits his wife make readers hit their spouse? Will listening to Marilyn Manson turn people into gothic murderers? Everyone has their own opinion as answer to those questions but it seems obvious to me that readers (and music listeners) need to realize that human beings are not the sugar coated ladies and gentlemen of yore. People do some terrible things. Everyone has a dark side, no matter how slight. I was not at all offended by The Ginger Man. Perhaps it was the fact that I was introduced to the text in the anything-goes Modernist context, perhaps I am a little too liberal. I will always find this book uproariously funny though. I can always side with a character that can make commentary on the human condition without doting clichés. I can at once laugh at Sebastian and be amused by him, without being "on his side" - his very dark side.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By V. C. Freedman on 23 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
J P Donleavy wrote a large number of marvellous books, but The Ginger Man was a sensation when it was first published. A raunchy and very funny look at life, love and the pursuit of happiness!

The Onion Eaters, another of Doleavy's works is my personal favourite work, but all his large output will enlighten and amuse you!!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book breaks every rule in the book. Treating grammer and convention with superb disregard, the frantic narrative keeps you continually 'on your toes'. At the beginning I thought I liked the main character, only to witness him punching his wife and threatening his child a few chapters later. The mistake people make with this book is that they assume Dangerfield is presented as hero and therefore get offended. He is almost an anti-hero. The book doesn't glorify his actions and neither does it condemn them. It simply isn't a consideration on morals. The book is at once sad, optimistic, violent and serene. Most of all though, it is entirely memorable. Go in with an open mind and you will realise why it has been so consistently praised
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By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Irish American author J P Donleavy's 1955 debut novel The Ginger Man is a brilliantly witty (and, at times, surprisingly poetic) tale of drunken debauchery, introducing us to one of Donleavy's most famous literary creations, Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield. As with other Donleavy novels, featuring similarly raucous characters such as Balthazar B and Darcy Dancer, The Ginger Man features Donleavy's trademark prose style comprising short, astute sentences, razor sharp dialogue and the odd moments of poetic whimsy.

Donleavy's protagonist Dangerfield is a married (though soon to be estranged) American student, father to a young daughter, studying in the leafy surrounds of Dublin's fair city, scrimping to get by as he ponders his future destiny - key to which is his expectation of an inheritance from his (emotionally and physically) distant father. Dangerfield's existence is essentially a mix of bluffing his position in society (together with his non-existent wealth) by means of avoiding his pursuing landlord and securing credit for his habitual drinking, and a series of sexual encounters with (unsuspecting) women, including laundress Christine, co-boarder (the initially reluctant) Miss Lilly Frost and the parentally abused housekeeper Mary.

Whilst any initial shock impact of Donleavy's explicit writing has dated somewhat, and of course been exceeded by many more recent literary efforts, The Ginger Man still stands up as a highly amusing tale, written in a relatively original style and thereby retaining its position as my favourite Donleavy novel.
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