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From the NYT:
J.P. Donleavy, Acclaimed Author of ‘The Ginger Man,’ Dies at 91
By ANITA GATES SEPT. 13, 2017
One of the more oddly influential literary careers was that of J.P. Donleavy, author of the 1955 novel The Ginger Man about an American who moves to Ireland to buckle down and finally get serious about working on his career as a drunk.
As I wrote in my review of Colin Quinn’s 2015 book The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America:
His father, whose death in 2012 at age 80 was likely the impetus for Quinn finally writing a book, was a professor of English at City College who had big, if unconventional, dreams for his son. Both of them were inspired by J.P. Donleavy’s peculiarly influential 1955 comic novel, The Ginger Man. If the first Velvet Underground album sold only 10,000 copies but every purchaser started a band, it sometimes seems as if every reader of The Ginger Man, such as Hunter S. Thompson, set out to become an alcoholic bard. Quinn recalls:
My father, who also loved these writers, enabled my delusions…. He loved the idea of me being a wild Irish poet-writer. I loved the idea, too. Both of us wanted me to be this guy. My father never said, “Hey, wait a minute, you’re just a drunk!”
Eventually, after a series of macroaggressions that often found Quinn waking up, bruised, in places like the median of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, he figured that out for himself. He stopped drinking and finally started working on his stand-up.