(August 23, 1926- )
Born in Brooklyn, New York
Birth name was James Patrick Donleavy
Wrote the novels ‘The Ginger Man’ (1955), ‘A Singular Man’ (1963), ‘The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B’ (1968), ‘A Fairy Tale of New York’ (1973), ‘The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman’ (1977), ‘Are You Listening Rabbi Low?’ (1987) and ‘The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms’ (1998)
Why he might be annoying
He was a newspaper delivery boy until he was fired for writing ‘How does it feel to cheat a child?’ on the front pages of customers who were late with their payments.
He was married and divorced twice.
He is another writer whose first novel overshadowed his later work.
’The Ginger Man’ was initially banned in Ireland and the US for obscenity.
It probably did not help that his original publisher, Olympia Press (a printer of both erotica and serious but risqué literature, such as Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’), ran ads for pornographic potboilers on the back cover of his novel.
His explanation for his literary style: ‘My big advantage is being practically uneducated and my grammar being appalling.’
He lives semi-reclusively on a manor in Ireland: ‘Sometimes I don’t go beyond those gates for two weeks at a time.’
Why he might not be annoying
He served in the Navy during World War II.
He was a talented amateur boxer and during a visit to New York’s Athletic Club sparred several rounds with former middleweight champ Jake LaMotta.
Once the ban on it was lifted, ‘The Ginger Man’ became the 7th best-selling book of all time in Ireland.
He said, ‘The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.’
Credit: C. Fishel
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