Over 40 million copies of The Ginger Man have been sold since its first publication in 1955. The sixtieth anniversary edition of the novel will be available in July as a standard hardback from Lilliput Press or as a signed, numbered edition, limited to 100.
Brendan Behan predicted that JP Donleavy’s classic novel was destined to “go around the world, and beat the bejaysus out of the Bible”. It is believed that the light-hearted, picaresque tale has brought more American tourists to Dublin’s Trinity College - where much of it was set - than the Book of Kells.
The story follows the social and sexual adventures of a footloose American student on the streets and the pubs of Dublin in the early 1950s.
Dorothy Parker considered The Ginger Man to be “stunning... brilliant... The Ginger Man is the picaresque novel to stop them all. Lusty, violent, wildly funny, it is a rigadoon of rascality, a bawled-out comic song of sex”.
The new edition includes a foreword by the actor and director Johnny Depp, who plans to produce a film version. An illustrated essay, accompanying the original text, details the book’s battles against censorship - not least in Ireland - and multiple foreign translations from Korea to China, Finland and elsewhere.
Its Irish-American author, JP ‘Mike’ Donleavy is almost 90 years of age, he was born in 1926, and lives along the shores of Lough Owell, near Mullingar in Co Westmeath. Donleavy has written over 20 books since his most famous classic first appeared.