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A Singular Man

Written by: J. P. Donleavy
Narrated by: Robert G Slade
Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
Price: CDN$ 33.01
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Publisher's Summary

Mysteriously rich and desperately lonely, George Smith appears to be under attack from all quarters. His former wife and four horrible children are suing to get his money, and someone is sending him threatening letters. Despite some very elaborate precautions, he remains worried. So he builds a mausoleum in which to live.

©1963 J. P. Donleavy (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Darryl
  • 2013-12-29

unique & talented & ribald with a touch of genius

never quite sure what's real what's imagined what's exaggerated and it matters not a bit, just enjoy it.

while the first 1/2 - 2/3 had gut bustingly funny moments and the second 1/2 not so much, it may also be that i wasn't quite in tune with 2nd half and so some slipped by me, however, what i found myself latching onto more in second half is the beauty of the writing.

he has a unique style.( after looking at others of his it appears this is his style) a bit stage direction-ish : "A black car coming down the street. Paper blowing in the wind." statements of fact at times a bit fragmentary sounding, but once you get in the with it it works.

i think everything in the novel is filtered through george smith's point of view. (all of it perhaps totally unreliable like Humbert)

sometimes he thinks about himself in the third person (fitting in a way because he is a little detached from others and himself at times) and describes what george smith is doing etc.

at times we slip into his stream of consciousness and so we pick up less exposition to ground us in the details of a situation. fragmentary sentences and images and also poetic descriptions.

and at other times we get only straight dialogue between him and others with no indication at all of what they are doing while they're talking, not simply tone of voice nor facial expressions etc., but sometimes you realize they might be having sex that takes a bit to reveal itself through their dialogue. and then at times he seems to fall into euphoric dream states or fugue states while they're having sex.

the style really makes your mind work overtime visualizing and figuring out "plot" (such as it is, and i'm still not sure of everything that's happening, and ultimately the "plot" may be totally irrelevant) but I have really been drawn in by the poetic passages, sometimes in sexcapades, sometimes in his stream of C musings, sometimes just in his descriptive passages. i think it's a beautiful if bawdy and zany novel and the style works wonderfully.

and ultimately it is a great love story.

i want to "study" him more now that i have a handle on how to get into the style, but i don't want to burn out on someone so interesting. maybe i'll wait a bit and come back to the other one, hoping meanwhile that they do a third one or more. Hoping for his classic Ginger Man.

so i guess i'm recommending you try it and see if you like it. it will take some focus to get immersed in the world but i hope you'll at least appreciate the style if not the novel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lindsay
  • 2016-01-03

not what I expected

you'll probably see an overwhelming reference to Hunter T. and they are mostly all right. This book a refreshing change, and you'll likely feel cultured, smarter or go back to your medication. Either way you'll be changed at the conclusion.