Donleavy rediscovered

There was time in my youth when I enjoyed nothing better than working my way through the works of J.P. Donleavy.  I read all he had written and then would savour his new writings as I came across them.  For some reason they all seemed better in paperback, ideally second hand.  The library was possible, but in those days this likely meant hardback.

But never mind the format or cover; how I enjoyed those books!  I even managed to like "The Unexpurgated Code: A Complete Manual of Survival and Manners"  (not the easiest of titles to remember!).  This was found in a second hand bookshop and eagerly picked up, but turned out not to be a novel at all. I clearly remember some jokey sort of unusual guidance with line drawn and maybe whacky illustratuions here and there, not his usual writing at all.  I suspect rereading may make it appear puerile from my vague memories.

Not so "A Fairy Tale of New York", which I have recently begun rereading, though reading out loud to my beloved.  I have only managed one chapter so far so shall not say too much more until further into the book.  But I am so relishing it all over again it is a real thrill!  And I do believe the reading out loud is so suited to the style of writing he has (even if I cannot manage a Bronx accent to save my life!).  If it is in audio book format I think this will be a real treat, soon enough we shall discover!

To be continued....


  1. I’m looking forward to the  rest of this book immensely.  His style is a little odd at first but I soon realized the power of it.  It’s as if he is painting in exquisite detail not just a visual picture for the reader but an extremely atmospheric one, capturing mood and perhaps the disconnect that I imagine our protagonist might be feeling given the nature of his arrival in New York.

    The beginning was, as you said immediately capturing of interest, and the dawning of what had happened was shocking and intriguing all at the same time. It is a stonking start to what I hope will continue to be a consuming read.

    annie on