Author J.P. Donleavy, who met scorn and then celebration with ‘The Ginger Man,’ dies at 91

J.P. Donleavy, the incorrigible Irish American author and playwright whose ribald debut novel “The Ginger Man” met scorn, censorship and eventually celebration as a groundbreaking classic, has died at age 91.

Donleavy, a native New Yorker who lived his final years on an estate west of Dublin, died Monday in Ireland. His death was confirmed by personal assistant Deborah Goss.

The author of more than a dozen books, he sometimes was compared to James Joyce as a prose stylist, but also was admired for his sense of humor. “The Ginger Man,” first published in 1955, sold more than 45 million copies and placed No. 99 on a Modern Library list of the greatest English language fiction of the 20th century.

“The Ginger Man’ has undoubtedly launched thousands of benders, but it has also inspired scores of writers with its vivid and visceral narrative voice and the sheer poetry of its prose,” American novelist Jay McInerney wrote in the introduction for a 2010 reissue.

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