Ginger does not equal Funny.

Well, “The Ginger Man” was not humorous.  That is, unless you feel like a man who is abusive to his family, drinks too much and can’t keep a job is funny.  Sadly, this book was not enjoyable.

In this story, a man who moved from the United States to Ireland lives in a rotting apartment with his poor wife (who once came from an affluent family and lost all of her belongings because of her husband’s terrible drinking habit) meets several women who he lies to and manipulates them.  He lies to his friends, he lies to his wife, he lies to his daughter (who is still in diapers).  I was tempted to compare it to “Catcher in the Rye” in a sense that you even feel like he is lying to you, the reader.

The writing style was interesting and poetic but difficult to follow for a whole novel.  As an example, the story is told by Dangerfield, the main character, but often, and sometimes mid-sentence, switches between first and third person.  He begins his sentences mid-thought sometimes and will be mid-thought before finishing what he wants to say.

Not until the very end of the story, does the reader begin to understand that the main character is potentially crazy.  He can’t remember where he was or what he did or when he did it.  Only then can the reader feel any compassion for this man.

I hope the rest of the books about families more like the “Magnificent Ambersons” and nothing like “The Ginger Man.”

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