The Ginger Man Question #11 ~ Writing Style

by J.P. Donleavy

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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The Ginger Man Question #11 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 13, 2006 8:35 am

What did you think of Donleavy’s style of switching back and forth from 1st person to 3rd person, often in the same paragraph and his staccato way of writing?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 13, 2006 8:48 am

very confusing, meant I had to read some passages more than once, not sure I liked it. I know other people made sugestions as to why which seemed interesting .

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Unread postby KatieLyn » Thu Apr 13, 2006 9:18 am

Good morning all.

I'm wondering if a mind under the influence would be switching like that between 1st and 3rd person. Maybe Donleavy did this intentionally to help us better understand the mind of a drinker. So, maybe I should have had a drink of rum before sitting down to read, it would have easier to get through it and understand Sebastian better!

I really didn't like the style at all.

Katie :-/
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:18 am

I found it confusing at first but once I got into the flow of the book it took on a rhythm. It made me feel like I was inside Sebastian's head hearing his mind go back and forth, almost in and out of reality. So for me, it worked for that character.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:22 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I found it confusing at first but once I got into the flow of the book it took on a rhythm. It made me feel like I was inside Sebastian's head hearing his mind go back and forth, almost in and out of reality. So for me, it worked for that character.


Not sure I really wanted to hear things from his mind :-/

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:25 am

Gilbert's Girl wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I found it confusing at first but once I got into the flow of the book it took on a rhythm. It made me feel like I was inside Sebastian's head hearing his mind go back and forth, almost in and out of reality. So for me, it worked for that character.


Not sure I really wanted to hear things from his mind :-/


:lol: It was a bit scary at times! :-O
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby luvdepp » Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:28 am

I didn't like it at all. It was very confusing for me. I had to read passages two and three times to feel like I had even an inkling of what Donleveay was trying to say. I think it's an interesting idea that KatieLyn had about writing it from the point of view of a drunken mind. That could be what Donleay was trying to achieve.
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:32 am

At first, I found the style confusing because I couldn’t figure out who was speaking. But when I finally got the rhythm of it, I found his style easy to read. I actually enjoyed reading many of his stream of consciousness accounts of the goings on in his head. And I loved his descriptions of Ireland. And throwing in the haikus and poems was a nice touch.
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Unread postby PhD » Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:32 am

I love the switches! It was confusing at first, but once I got into the rhythm, it was easy. For me, it was part of what made the book so hard to put down. It flowed so well. There were times when I had trouble understanding what he was thinking and what he was actually saying, but I think that reflected S's not always knowing what he was saying internally and what he was actually saying out loud.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:01 am

His style was wasted on me at first. I just wanted to cut through to what was going to happen next in the story and not endure all of his lyrical passages. And I kept thinking of how an English teacher would mark up his 'sentence structure' until there was nothing left but red slashes. (We never could have gotten away with those 'sentences' when I was in school! :-/ ) Then, after awhile, I began to realize that if I would relax and try to absorb those passages, I could enjoy going along on his journey with him. :chill:
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:35 am

Betty Sue wrote:And I kept thinking of how an English teacher would mark up his 'sentence structure' until there was nothing left but red slashes. (We never could have gotten away with those 'sentences' when I was in school! :-/ ) Then, after awhile, I began to realize that if I would relax and try to absorb those passages, I could enjoy going along on his journey with him. :chill:


I hear ya, Betty Sue. It has taken me a number of years to mellow out about this grammatical issue. It seems that a many a writer that I read these days has taken literary license for the sake of style or emphasis.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Unread postby QueenofKings » Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:45 pm

I write like this, so I enjoy that style. But, I do admit that it can be confusing. I did have to read the beginning of the book over a few times to get into it.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:24 pm

Me too, QofK. But once I got into it, the story flowed much easier. I still found myself going over some parts more than one but overall I liked it.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Bix » Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:06 pm

I agree it was kind of like kick-starting a poorly tuned motorcycle getting going at first. But once I got it rolling along in my head, I quite enjoyed the style. In fact, I don't think I even consciuosly noticed the switches from first to third person and back until someone mentioned them and I looked back for examples! And I am usually so aware of how the writer is using words, etc.

I like the point that this reinforces the "mind of a drunk" feel of the book. I think it also gives Sebastian that giddy, manic, close-to-the-edge-of-panic-or-worse quality I felt in him.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:48 pm

Bix wrote:I agree it was kind of like kick-starting a poorly tuned motorcycle getting going at first. But once I got it rolling along in my head, I quite enjoyed the style. In fact, I don't think I even consciuosly noticed the switches from first to third person and back until someone mentioned them and I looked back for examples! And I am usually so aware of how the writer is using words, etc.

I like the point that this reinforces the "mind of a drunk" feel of the book. I think it also gives Sebastian that giddy, manic, close-to-the-edge-of-panic-or-worse quality I felt in him.


That is a good way to describe it, Bix. That is the feeling I got from Sebastian too.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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