The Ginger Man Question #26 ~ One Final Question

by J.P. Donleavy

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The Ginger Man Question #26 ~ One Final Question

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:35 am

Here we are again at the end of another great discussion. :bawl: Thank you all for supporting ONBC with your wit and wisdom once again! :notworthy: :applause: We hope to see you all (and more!) for our next discussion of Joanne Harris’ Chocolat which begins on May 29. :kiss: Keep a sharp eye on the board for tidbits beginning soon!
:ONBC:

On our next Monday Night Thread we will be giving you a chance to vote for a book to follow Chocolat. The list was compiled from your suggestions on our last Monday Night Thread. You will be able to preview the poll over the weekend and decide on your favorite before voting begins on Monday evening.

Now without further ado, our last question for The Ginger Man…

Has the ONBC discussion changed your view of the novel?
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 » Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:47 am

Thanks DITHOT for a great discussion and to everyone who has taken part, I think this was a difficult one to discuss, especailly for me as I am very good at not reading much into books :lol: its been very good to read everyones' veiws about this book and their interpretations.
But to answer the question, no my opinion has not altered. I didn't think much of it and still don't. I hope Johnny being in the film will add something to the story, as it stands I can't see it being a hit as such, in fact I would be suprised how they would market this one.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:39 am

I think we will see some undiscovered layers in the film that we haven't uncovered here. I am definitely looking forward to the film now!

I haven't changed my mind about Sebastian. I think I understand him better but I still don't like him. I have changed my opinion about the book. It was not one I was looking forward to as much as some of the others we have read. I enjoyed it more than I expected when I read it and now that we have finished the disucssion I have a much greater appreciation for the story and for Donleavy's writing. Thanks, Noodlemantas!
:noodlemantra: :cool:
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 Endora » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:12 pm

I think I've enjoyed this discussion more than any other, and the reason was that it was a book that I knew, at the start, I didn't like. But reading it and then discussing it has made me change my view. I have realised that it was SD, not the book, that I didn't like. The book itself is more cleverly written than I had supposed, and the imagery is so open to interpretation that it made me think very hard about what JPD was aiming for. Parts of it annoyed me, the haikus for example, which I think didn't add to the narrative. And I still don't like the train of thought writing style that is to me artificial. But I now admire the book much ,more, and have more of an idea why it is iconic. It hasn't made me want to read more JPD, however.

Thanks to all who put together the very tricky and thought provoking questions!
Work hard, learn well, and make peace with the fact that you'll never be as cool as Johnny Depp. GQ.

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Unread postby fansmom » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:14 pm

I didn't participate in the discussion much, mainly because of timing (dratted tax season!), but in the past 10 days or so, I've read most of the threads. I still don't think much of the book, and the main problem for me is my active dislike of Sebastian. The ONBC discussions have delineated most of what I dislike about him: his complete unawareness of his many flaws, his misogyny, his sense of entitlement, his snobbery . . . Give him one redeeming quality! One feature to make me sympathize or empathize with him! One sign of character development! And no, whimsical kangaroo suits and occasional flashes of kindness aren't good enough.

(And that means my honest answer to yesterday's question about the end would be that my response was "Thank goodness I'm through with that.")

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:20 pm

Like Endora, I realized my dislike was for the character and not the book and I was able to peel back some layers in the imagery and the writing that I had not seen before.

fansmom, I'm glad you let us know what you thought of the book. :cool: I kept waiting for that one little thing that could make me like Sebastian but I never found it either!
:banghead:
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 Endora » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:22 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Like Endora, I realized my dislike was for the character and not the book and I was able to peel back some layers in the imagery and the writing that I had not seen before.

fansmom, I'm glad you let us know what you thought of the book. :cool: I kept waiting for that one little thing that could make me like Sebastian but I never found it either!
:banghead:


Likewise. He is still the type of anti hero we talked about in the tidbits... the monster.
Work hard, learn well, and make peace with the fact that you'll never be as cool as Johnny Depp. GQ.

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Unread postby Raven » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:47 pm

I know I have not been participating lately.

I would like to add that the book was not my favorite, but I did like the way it was written. And though I loath SD, I did read almost all of the discussion threads and you all helped me alot in learning about the book as a whole and not just focusing on SD. Which was hard for me.

So a big thank you to Liz and DITHOT for all your hard work, and I cannot wait for the Chocolat discussion as the book is here from the library. And a thank you to all the noodlemantrababas you add so much to every book we read.

Raven
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and the envious."
John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester in The Libertine by Stephen Jeffreys

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:26 pm

I didn’t like Dangerfield while I read the book, and I still don’t. However, I think Johnny may change my opinion. As far as the book itself, I think I have grown to appreciate certain aspects of it due to our discussion. All of you have helped me see things I had not noticed. Your insights, along with having to go back and review the book to answer the questions have given me a better appreciation for Donleavy’s writing. There really are some beautiful passages in the book.

Much thanks to all of you who participated. Great answers and insights, as always, Noodlemantras!
:cool:
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Unread postby QueenofKings » Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:39 pm

Thanks to Liz and DITHOT for this great discussion. And everyone who participated.
I also have a better apreciation for Donleavy's writing now that I have read the whole story and through the tidbits and discussions.
But I still dislike Sebastian. I feel he has no redeeming qualities which would make me empathize with his plight at all. There was no bridge of sympatico there. I wanted his character to grow as a person and that never materialized. Added to this, I have a personal issue about the issue of entitlement and my lack of feeling entitled. In part, my reading this book and this discussion in a way, has led me to finally deal with this.

I am looking forward to the discussion about Chocolat very much. I am a big Joanne Harris fan and I look forward to the tidbits as well.

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Unread postby fansmom » Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:55 pm

QueenofKings wrote: my lack of feeling entitled.
Tee-hee! :lol: The "Queen" doesn't feel entitled? (Get it? En-titled?) Sorry. Not meaning to make light of your personal issue, but it struck me as funny.

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:28 pm

QueenofKings wrote: Added to this, I have a personal issue about the issue of entitlement and my lack of feeling entitled. In part, my reading this book and this discussion in a way, has led me to finally deal with this.


I hope that is a good thing. :chill:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Bix » Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:33 pm

I think our discussion really did change my opinion of the book. I didn't like it much on first reading it, but a book doesn't stay in print for more than 50 years for no reason, so I was really hoping to be enlightened about this one. Like many of you, I really loathed SD and that made it hard to step back and look at the beautiful writing in the book. But through the insights of so many of you and, as you said, Liz, going back to search for answers to the questions, I came to appreciate The Ginger Man for the work of art it is. Thank you, Liz and DITHOT, for making us exercise our little gray cells and thank you all of you who shared your thoughts and opinions. I really enjoyed this discussion a great deal and am looking forward to the next one. (And I made it through the last question without breaking my other arm or otherwise seriously injuring myself! :lol: )
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:34 pm

Here is some background info that you all may find interesting about Gainor Crist, who was the inspiration for SD.

When it came to light yesterday that the last paragraph might be about SD’s contemplation of suicide, I felt the need to read some more of The History of The Ginger Man to find out what ultimately happened to Gainor Crist. Long story short, he moved around for a bit—working on a ship for a while, living in various places—Ireland, Spain, Paris. The last time Donleavy saw him he was complaining about not feeling well. Little did they know that he had tuberculosis. It appeared that this was in 1955 or early 1956, after The Ginger Man was published. Thus the ending was not based on Gainor’s death. From page 462:


But one would envy his death. For he, Crist, would die just as bizarrely as he had lived. Again by amazing coincidence. Running into and recognizing a face he knew no a Madrid street from seventeen years previously in the latter days of the Second World War. An army major with whom he’d gone on a wild drinking spree in London, and Gainor being a yeoman, able to commandeer naval travel, their adventures took them wandering. Days later they ended up waking and coming back to their senses in the back of a large lorry full of broomsticks and stuck in the mud on the banks of the river Rhine in Germany with artillery shells flying overhead in the last months of the war. And it ws this same man, the army major that Gainor now saw passing in this Madrid street. They repaired immediately to a bar to reminisce and Gainor to be invited to accompany this former military person on a ready-to-leave ship, sailing with its handful of teetotal tourists on its way to South America. And as Crist always did and was always ready to do, he packed his toothbrush. And always an intending teetotaler, he made doubly sure he did not go without calvados.

With the other guests, Gainor and this gentleman continued their celebrations aboard the vessel as it left to cross the Atlantic. Gainor was on his last spree. For good luck he always carried with him in a match box Desmond MacNamara’s small replica of blessed Oliver’s head. But this former naval person was not now to be given safe conduct in his travels by this patron, who had by Gainor’s publicity, and aided and abetted by me, been elevated from being blessed to becoming canonized as a saint. Aboard ship, Gainor suddenly became deathly ill and was put ashore on the island of Tenerife. Here he died three days later, adored by all in the hospital who ministered to him. And Pamela, now his wife, to learn of his death in England by telegram when the bill arrived from the funeral director.


Donleavy ends this chapter on Gainor with:

For left down here on earth, one is in envy of how finally and unpredictably and exotically Gainor came to be laid to rest in a grave on an island where banana trees grow. His tombstone bathed by balmy, moist Atlantic winds from an ocean we’d both crossed together on the good ship Franconia. To be back again where we first were. In Ireland. And where as an eternal tourist wtil he remains as a ghost never gone. See him in Blackrock, where he used to get off at the station. Scurrying in terror, having left his fly open on the train. Watch him hurry along the Monkstown Road. Or go as he did for his one and only picnic high on the hill above Dalkey. Where the larks are. Who rise now above him.

Ascending
Singing
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Bix » Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:39 pm

Oh, wow, Liz! That just gave me goosebumps! Methinks I may have to read the History of the Ginger Man now. Thanks for this extra ending tidbit!
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame


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