J.P. DONLEAVY'S IRELAND: In All Her Sins and in Some of Her Graces by J.P. Donleavy
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J.P. DONLEAVY'S IRELAND: In All Her Sins and in Some of Her Graces

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A brawling, boozy broth of a book, written with all the Joycean exuberance readers have come to expect from the author of The Ginger Man. Here, the American-born Donleavy recounts his adventures as a student at Dublin's Trinity College, as a painter of female nudes and still lifes (his canvases never seemed to be dry in time for the openings of his exhibitions), as a struggling farmer in County Wicklow and as the creator or novels and plays that scandalized conservative readers and critics and delighted those of a more iconoclastic bent. Among Donleavy's other roles: punch-thrower, arse-booter, Guinness-guzzler, general all-round disrupter of the Hibernian status-quo and master of the English language. Donleavy's Ireland is peopled with a cast of characters that would turn Charles Dickens shamrock-green with envy. ""Basil,"" for example, who ""greeted. . .guests at the door, totally in the nude. With not only his cigarette holder stiffly horizontal but his private appendage as well."" And an uproarious set-piece relates a monstrous shindy that took place one weekend in an Irish country house. The carnage was impressive and Donleavy's rendering of the scene hilarious, filled with farcical details of hurtling Hepplewhite and bedraggled bodices. The author is one of the few working today whose prose cries out to be read aloud--exquisitely controlled, roaring, leaping, then murmuring and meditative. Composed of short, idiosyncratic phrases, the style takes some getting used to, but the reader is soon rewarded with some of the most evocative writing currently available. Carrying on the finest traditions of the picaresque novel, this is a rambunctious, ribald, utterly irresistible romp.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Viking