THE DESTINIES OF DARCY DANCER, GENTLEMAN by J. P. Donleavy
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THE DESTINIES OF DARCY DANCER, GENTLEMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mother-bereft and father-despised, young Irish gentleman Darcy Dancer and his picaresque adventures provide the spin to Donleavy's latest top--and fast and round and deft it all most remarkably is. Growing up on the family estate, Andromeda Park, among such family retainers as a Latin-quoting gardener, a ghost-addressing butler, and Miss von B, the hot-and-sour housemistress, Darcy's life resembles one of those what's-wrong-with-this-picture puzzles: he's wrong because everyone else is slightly or greatly crazy. When evil Papa throws Darcy out of the house on account of the young squire's fast-learn in the arms of Miss von B, it's off to Dublin and private school, then escape and return and expulsion once more, all braided with scenes of horsethievery, butlering, a try at the life of a ""gentleman chancer and cad"" under the tutelage of a master gigolo named Rashers Ronald, and a dip into Irish bohemia. The Donleavy hurtle is as effective as ever--but, recalling the Unexpurgated Code of a couple of years back, there seems to be a distinct, post-Ginger Man thematic purpose. Donleavy pothers and gallops, villainizes and throws in good thick yocks in order to make a very specific meringue: ""O God. How one so adores that light loveliness of social froth."" So here we have, in place of the pub poet-brawler, J. P. Donleavy finally seen in what's perhaps his snuggest suit: the novelist of manners, good and rude. But still manners. Who'd have thought?

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1977
Publisher: Delacorte