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The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B by J.…

The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B (1968)

by J. P. Donleavy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 5 of 5
i love this book. ( )
  behemothing | Oct 25, 2014 |
A book filled with wit, bawdiness, and pathos - a winning combination in Donleavy's hands. We follow the melancholy life of Balthazar B. As part of the journey, we get a glimpse into the debauchery-filled life of Balthazar's friend, Beefy. Both are in search of a finer life - each with a different vision of what that means. Both are endearing characters. Despite the antics, immaturity, and poor decisions, we care. The touching ending is not out of line with where the book has taken us. Donleavy has a gift in providing raucous stories that inevitably touch hearts and minds amid the laughter and absurdity.

It has been decades since I first read Ginger Man. Given this recent encounter with Balthazar B, I may need to pick up another copy and read it again. ( )
1 vote Griff | Jun 12, 2011 |
Born in Paris between the wars, Balthazar B. is spoiled and wealthy in all regards, except for love. His father dies, leaving Balthazar to be raised by nannies, with an occasional appearance by his haughty, distant mother. On one such visit she discovers that twelve year-old Balthazar and his beautiful nanny, Bella Hortense, have been sharing a bed. Years later she travels to Dublin, where he is attending Trinity College, from Buenos Aires, apparently with the sole purpose of telling him Bella had his son, who he will never meet.
Balthazar's true love, Elizabeth Fitzdare, dies before they can be married. It is years before he discovers why she and her father suddenly cut off contact with him - after a horse riding accident from which she never recovered. He ends up being trapped into marriage by a gold digging woman, Millicent - who seems a lot like his mother - and her parents.
Sad as Balthazar's story is, it is highly humorous. His lifelong friend, Beefy, is a troublemaking sexual madman, who draws Balthazar into situations that get them both expelled from Trinity, where Beefy has been studying religion. Maybe no one is more adept than J. P. Donleavy at combining loneliness, scandal, beautiful prose and ribald humor into an elegant, totally satisfying story. ( )
  Hagelstein | Apr 7, 2011 |
Bad Books 395
  seomraspraoi | May 19, 2007 |
Fantastic. My favorite Donleavy book to date. If you take the likable characteristics of his other characters from Ginger Man, Darcy Dancer, etc. and roll them up, you have Balthazar B. If you're a Donleavy fan, this book is a must. ( )
  jeffreybrayne | Mar 27, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. P. Donleavyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Coutinho, L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coutinho, M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He was born in Paris in a big white house on a little square off Avenue Foch. Of a mother blonde and beautiful and a father quiet and rich.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140030565, Paperback)

The New York Times Book Review called The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B, J. P. Donleavy's hilarious, bittersweet tale of a lost young man's existential odyssey, "a triumphant piece of writing, achieved with that total authority, total mastery which shows that a fine writer is fully extended...." In the years before and after World War II, Balthazar B is the world's last shy, elegant young man. Born to riches in Paris and raised by his governess, Balthazar is shipped off to a British boarding school, where he meets the noble but naughty Beefy. The duo matriculate to Trinity College, Dublin, where Balthazar reads zoology and Beefy prepares for holy orders, all the while sharing amorous adventures high and low, until their university careers come to an abrupt and decidedly unholy end. Written with trademark bravado and a healthy dose of sincerity, The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B is vintage Donleavy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:38 -0400)

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